Google reviews are an extremely powerful tool to attract clients and boost your revenue quickly.
Did you know that Google reviews help you to rank more highly in Google search results than businesses who use paid advertising or advanced Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Google reviews are an underestimated tool that can drastically increase your visibility and credibility, bringing you a consistent flow of leads and clients. In this article I’m going to explain how and why Google reviews are so powerful and how you can use them to your advantage.
If you haven’t already registered your business with Google, I highly recommend you do so as quickly as possible.
There are many advantages of registering your business with Google.
A Google Business profile…
Shows that you’re a ‘real’ business.
Gives you instant credibility.
Allows Google to easily match searches to your business.
Boosts your SEO organically (this is worth its weight in gold!)
Google Reviews form part of your Inbound Marketing strategy. Before we get into how it all works, let’s first recap the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, and how Google Reviews fit into your overall marketing strategy, so that we’re on the same page.
The difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing – and Why You Need Both
Outbound marketing is anything you ‘push’ out to a wide audience to promote and sell your products or services. e.g. via social media marketing, blogging, advertising.
Your audience is not always actively looking for solutions when you’re engaged in outbound marketing (often they’re scrolling on social media late at night and they might not be interested in your promotions).
Inbound marketing is how you magnetise people to your website through search engines. It’s how people find you when they’re actively searching for a particular product or service. Inbound marketing includes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Reviews (which help boost your ranking in search engine results, as you’ll see below).
Inbound marketing allows those who are actively looking for online solutions to find you. Those prospects are very ‘warm leads’ because they’re actively looking for a product or service that you provide.
Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies drive people towards your website (see below). And once they get to your website, you’ll need to have a very compelling offer that entices your visitors want to engage with you and your brand. I call these ‘irresistible offers’. To discover how to craft an irresistible offer, check out my article How to Craft an Irresistible Offer that your Prospects Can’t Refuse.
So How do Google Reviews Enhance Your Inbound Marketing?
You might have noticed in Google search results that the first results that show up are paid ads. Google Ads are a form of paid advertising in which you can pay Google to have your business shown first when people are searching for a product or service that you provide. You can recognise Google Ads by the words ‘Ad’ that’s in front of the search result (see the screenshot below).
Examples of Google Ads when searching for ‘business coach’
After paid ads, the next thing that shows up on Google search results is the ‘maps’ section. These are businesses that have a physical Google-registered address in the area close to you. And the businesses that get shown first in the maps section are those who have the most reviews. This is why you need to start building your Google reviews!
To see some of the latest research on Google, check out Hursh’s videos here: https://tradesignaus.com.au/sales-accelerator-resources.
The maps section of Google results get more clicks than paid ads and SEO-generated results. And the businesses who feature highest in the Google maps section are those who have the most Google reviews.
Here’s what the maps section results looks like for a search on local carpet cleaning businesses.
How to Request Google Reviews from Happy Clients, Past or Present.
The easiest way to start building your Google reviews is to reach out to your happy clients, past or present, and ask them to leave a 5-star review for you. They’ll need to have a Google account (e.g. a Gmail account) to be able to register a review for you. Or they can create a Google account for free if they don’t already have one.
To make it as easy as possible for your clients, send them the direct link to leave a review. The direct link can be found in the back end of your Google Business account, and looks like this (below).
When you click on that link, you’ll be shown a link that you can copy and paste into a message to your clients to ask them to leave a review for you. The link will look like this (see below).
Set yourself a challenge to get 20 Google reviews in 20 days and when you reach out to your clients you can say “I’m on a mission to get 20 Google reviews in 20 days and I’d love your support.” You might be surprised at how happy your clients will be to help you out!
I hope this article has helped you to understand how important Google reviews are, and how instrumental they can be in helping you to build your business.
If you have any questions, please reach out at email@example.com. I look forward to connecting with you!
To be successful in business, you need to master the art of creating irresistible offers. Irresistible offers significantly increase your sales and revenue by increasing the conversion of your prospects into paying customers.
What is an irresistible offer?
An irresistible offer is simply a strategic structuring of your products and/or services where the value-to-cost ratio is value-heavy. Which means that the value of your offer far exceeds the cost to access the value (Michael Hunter, 2019). The offer seems so good that it’s an easy “yes” for those who need it. It feels like a ‘no-brainer’ and your prospect feels compelled to buy now.
There are 10 ingredients to crafting an irresistible offer. Not all 10 ingredients are necessary at all times, but try to include as many as you can where possible to maximise your chances of people engaging with your offer.
The 10 Ingredients of an Irresistible Offer
1. Emotion. Emotion. Emotion.
Powerful marketing is all about connecting your prospects to the emotion or feeling that they’ll experience through engaging with your product or service.
“People buy with emotion and then justify their decision with logic and analysis.”This is 100% true.
How will your customer feel when they’ve consumed your product or service? How can you describe that in your offer?
Here’s an example from a client of ours who’s a Health Coach. See how she’s focused on the feelings of “lighter, brighter and beautiful” after engaging with her 12-week health coaching program. The imagery she’s chosen also helps the customer to tune into those feelings of freedom and lightness. This client filled her program quickly using this irresistible offer.
To increase conversions, you need to move from speaking in feature-based language (the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of your product or service) and instead speak in outcome-based language (describing the impact or effect of working with you).
Check out the following two examples and see for yourself which one feels more compelling.
You can easily see which one feels more compelling, right?
Wherever possible, define the feelings and emotion of the end destination that you take your clients to, and always speak in outcome-based language to maximise your chances of your offer engagement.
You might have heard the marketing statements “The clearest marketer wins” and “The confused person never buys.”
Be crystal clear about what your offer entails and what the outcomes will be for your customer. A great way to do this can be with diagrams. For example, when we market out Fempire Social Media Planning Calendar, we use a diagram to show exactly what’s included and the outcomes this will have for the customer (see below).
3. Reverse the Risk
A great way to make your offer irresistible is to make it risk-free for your customer. How can you shoulder the risk instead of your client (reverse the risk)?
Ask yourself the question:
“What would you do if you only got paid when your client got the desired result?”
Asking yourself this question forces you to focus on how to best get your client the desired result, as fast as possible. For example, as a Sales Coach, you could promise your client that they’ll make their invested money back by the end of your program, and if not, you’ll work with them until they do. This is a type of ‘value-first’ offer which makes it an easy “yes” for the prospect.
Here’s another example of how you could shoulder the risk:
“Try us for your first month, at zero risk or obligation. If you’re not totally satisfied for any reason, let us know. You’ll get a prompt and courteous full refund of your first month’s fee. After your first month, cancel anytime, and you won’t be billed a penny more.”
This is a softer version of the value-first offer. If you try and aren’t satisfied, you’re get your money back. The risk of the transaction is not on you, the client, but on you, the seller.
The point is to take on as much of the risk as possible, so the client feels like they’ve got nothing to lose. But everything to gain.
How could you integrate this concept into your offers?
4. Easy Payment Solutions
People don’t generally like to make large payments at one time. To lower your buyer’s resistance and to make it an easier “yes”, always provide payment plan options. For example, 2-weekly or monthly payment plan options, depending on the product or service.
Generally speaking we recommend that you offer an incentive (typically a 10-15% discount) to pay up front because it makes our life easier as business owners when people pay at once (no admin or chasing payments). But always provide a way for people to pay as they go and offer all payment options (e.g. credit card, PayPal or direct debit).
As you saw in the health coaching offer above, The Wholesome Health Coach offered a 50% reduction on normal prices for her ‘Winter Special’. In the terms and conditions for her offer, she specified a strict cut off date for the end of the offer to give people the incentive to buy now while the price is so heavily discounted.
And be sure to raise your prices again at the end of the offer period. Always act with integrity and stick to your terms and conditions of your own offers otherwise you’ll lose the trust and confidence of your client base.
6. Add a Bonus or a Premium
A great way to give your prospect extra motivation to engage with your offer (and to make it extra irresistible!) is to offer a bonus in their package. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you could include a customised meal plan with their personal training package. Or if you’re a Book Coach, you could offer a home study course on how to publish your book with Amazon, for example.
What’s a bonus you could include or create to make your offer extra irresistible?
7. Create a Bundle of High Value
Which products or services could you bundle together in order to give your client the incentive to buy more? Which things could you package together that provide massive value?
As an example of a bundled product line, the skincare range Rodan+Fields promote their ‘Power Up Special’ to fast-track anti-ageing (see below). With bundles, clients feel that with a little extra expenditure, they can get greater results.
At Fempire we offer access to our Fempire Academy as a bonus to all clients who sign up for our coaching programs because we know that it adds huge value to their coaching service and it makes investment in coaching an easier “yes”.
8. Provide Urgency or Scarcity
So far we’ve explored various ways you can give your prospects several compelling reasons why they should take your offer.
But you still have to explain why they need to take your offer right NOW.
As you’ve probably experienced, in the world of sales, “later” almost always means “no”. If a prospect visits your sales page and decides to “come back later”… you’ve most likely lost that sale.
This is where urgency comes into play. Urgency gives people a reason to buy right now, today, rather than putting it off for tomorrow.
How can you inject some urgency into your offer?
The easiest way to do this is through a combination of scarcity and/or a deadline.
Scarcity is when you have only a certain number of products available, or spaces left in a workshop or program.
A deadline is similar to your time-sensitive offer: Your product is only available for a limited time. If you decide to offer a price reduction, be sure to only offer it for a limited time. Be sure to stick to your own word to maintain the trust and confidence with your client base.
9. Champion a Cause
People are becoming more and more socially conscious and want their buying choices to have a positive impact somehow. Can you give a percentage of your profit to a charity you care about? This demonstrates a level of social consciousness that lowers your buyer’s resistance even more.
For example, when we published our anthology called The Art of Unlearning, we donated 100% of the profits to KIVA, a not-for-profit organisation that empowers disadvantaged people around the world to build their entrepreneurial dreams through the provision of micro-financing. We were able to tell our customers “When you buy your copy you’ll be helping someone else on their journey to a brighter life!”.
Another company called Humanitix is a new online event ticketing organisation that donates all booking fees to a local charity of your choice and is now picking up an ever-increasing market share from their competitors because people like to know their money is going to make a difference somehow.
What can you contribute to through your product or service that will provide an extra incentive for your customers to say “yes”. Which causes does your target market care about?
10. Social Proof
When you’re making an offer, show the social proof that your offer works through testimonials or other credibility boosting things like awards or affiliations. For example, when promoting my book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR INSPIRED PATH & PURPOSE, I include a testimonial from a fan as social proof that the book is worth buying.
Wherever you can, try to get testimonials or social proof that your product or service actually works. This is yet another quality that makes your offer irresistible. Because if others have gotten results, they should be able to too!
Bringing it All Together
Here’s an example of an offer that incorporates all of the different elements from Digital Marketer. Remember to use compelling imagery with your offer to connect to the emotion that your customer is desiring!
I hope you’ve found this information super helpful and it enables you to go and create your irresistible offers.
If you’re starting of growing your own business, be sure to download your FREE copy of The Fempreneur Success Handbook and learn everything I wish someone had told me back when I was starting my business in 2013!
In service to your success,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs katiedejong.com firstname.lastname@example.org +61 424 176 658
Successful businesses use their ‘why’, vision, and mission as the cornerstone of their marketing strategy.
There’s a lot of talk about these important company statements. But what’s the key difference between them, actually? And how and when should you apply them?
That’s exactly what I’m going to unpack for you in this article. But first, let’s explore each statement individually.
Start with ‘Why’
Do you know why you’re in business?
Do you know what you believe in and what your business stands for?
And can you articulate that in a clear, concise way so that those who believe what you believe can find you and work with you?
If your answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, then you’re missing out on your most powerful marketing asset. The most successful businesses worldwide make their ‘why’ the cornerstone of their marketing strategy to put themselves above and beyond their competitors, easily and effortlessly.
Simon Sinek’s now world famous TED talk called Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (published in 2009 and now with 7 million views at the time of writing this article), he explains why ‘starting with why’ is the key thing that all successful businesses do.
Sinek’s research was driven by finding answers to these questions:
Why are some people and organisations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others?
Why do some companies command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike?
Even among the successful companies, why are so few companies able to repeat their success over and over?
Those of you with young children know that every child wants to know ‘why’ things are a certain way and why we do certain things. It’s our natural instinct to want to know the motivation and driving force – the reason – behind things. We’ll happily comply with a request if we understand there’s a good reason for it.
“Your goal is not to do business with people who want what you have, your job is to do business with those people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek
Sinek explains why this is so important and how this works using his ‘Golden Circle’, which actually correlates to the anatomy of the human brain (see the diagram below).
When you look at a cross section of the human brain, the outer layer – the neocortex – is the newest evolutionary layer. Our neocortex corresponds with our rational, analytical thought and language. This is the ‘how’ and ‘what’ level of thinking.
The middle two sections of the human brain constitute the ‘limbic brain’, the emotional centre that makes up all of our emotions and feelings like trust and loyalty. It’s also the section of our brain that’s responsible for all of our decisions. It’s responsible for driving our behaviour. The limbic part of our brain has no capacity for language.
As Sinek explains, every organisation knows ‘what’ they do. Some know ‘how’ they do it. And their biggest mistake is that they lead their marketing with their ‘what’ and their ‘how’, talking about features and benefits. But the problem is that, in the majority of cases, nobody cares what you do or how you do it, until they understand ‘why’ you do it.
“Every organisation knows ‘what’ they do. Some know ‘how’ they do it. But very few organisations know ‘why’ they do it. What’s your purpose? Your cause, your belief? Inspired, successful organisations all act and communicate from the inside out. Most other organisations start from the outside and work inwards.” – Simon Sinek
“When you communicate from the outside in, talking about features and benefits of your products or services, you don’t drive behaviour. But when you talk from the inside out, you’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls decisions and behaviour. It’s where gut decisions come from.” – Simon Sinek
It’s well known in marketing and sales theory that people buy with emotion, and then use logic to justify their buying decision. In other words, they make the decision to buy using their limbic brain (the ‘why’ part of the circle), and then use their neocortex to analyse and justify their buying decision (with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ parts of the circle).
Apple Computers “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.”
They believe in doing things differently, in innovation, in the crossroads between creativity and technology.
Fempire “The future is female.” We believe that females need to step up to drive the change that we desperately need to see in the world. It’s through a balancing of the masculine and feminine energies in the corporate and business world that we’ll start to see lasting, positive change.
High Stakes Communication Coach, Jane Jordan: “Powerful communication is the cornerstone of influential leadership.” Jane knows that it takes more than twenty years to build a great professional reputation, and only seconds to destroy it. And she’s passionate about helping professionals to master their communication so that they can enhance their reputation and become more influential leaders.
What’s your business ‘why’?
What do you believe in as an organisation?
What do you stand for?
Figuring this out might just be the most important thing you can do for your business this year.
Your ‘why’ is what you believe. Your vision is where you’re going. Your mission is how you’re going to get there.
Your Vision Statement
While your ‘why’ describes what you stand for and what you believe in as a business, your vision statement defines the aspirational end destination that you want to take your business to. It’s the inspiration, hopes and dreams for your business. It describes what you’re trying to build and the impacts of that. Your vision requires you to dream big.
It answers the big question “Where are we going?”
It’s your north star, your guiding light.
Your Mission Statement
Your mission is ‘how’ you are going to deliver on your vision. It’s your compass that guides your way to your final end destination.
I always describe the difference between your vision and mission using the diagram of Australia shown here. Your vision is the end destination. Whereas your ‘mission’ is your compass, it’s ‘how’ you get there.
Great examples of Vision and Mission Statements
Here are some great examples to help you to refine or develop your own vision and mission statements.
Tesla Vision: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Mission: By bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.
Nike Vision: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Mission: By creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.
TEDex Vision: To spread ideas worth sharing. Mission: By creating a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world through sharing ideas. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
I hope this has helped to clarify the key, critical differences between your ‘why’, vision, and mission statements. If you haven’t taken the time yet to ‘nail’ your why, vision, and mission statements, it’s absolutely worth taking the time to do so. And if you’re having trouble, reach out for a FREE 15-minute business strategy session so I can help you. One of my superpower’s is helping you to articulate your cornerstone marketing messages!
But not all goals are effective at driving progress and success in your business.
The sweet spot for goal setting, without a doubt, is 90 days.
Why are 90-day goals so effective?
90-day goals are effective because:
90 days is long enough to achieve something substantial.
It’s close enough to feel a sense of urgency and to stay focused.
There’s a clear end in sight.
There’s no time to procrastinate.
This has definitely been my experience.
Since using 90-day goals in my business, my productivity has increased dramatically. You’d be amazed at what you can achieve in 90 days! I’ve created and launched an entire online ‘Find Your Purpose’ program in that time, I’ve completed my first book draft, and we’ve recently created and delivered a whole 6 week online Fempreneur Business Breakthrough program to 40+ ladies, all within less than three months! Interestingly, 90-days seem to be a natural rhythm for our bodies and minds. Ninety days is roughly the length of a season. It’s about the length of a school semester and the span of a business quarter.
We’re used to operating in 90-day periods personally and professionally, so why not make the most of that for your business goal setting?
How to Set 90-Day Goals to Drive Your Business Success
1. Check in with your 5-Year Business Vision When you do your 90-day goal setting you need to check back in with your 5 year business vision (if you don’t have a 5 year vision, you need to create one!) 2. Chunk it Down into 12-Month Goals Chunk your big vision down into 12-month goals. You might need to refer back to the 6 Stages of Business Growth and look at the key areas you need to work on in your business to get to the next stage. I define the different goals for each phase of business growth in my free handbook The Fempreneur Success Handbook: How to Start or Grow Your Wildly Successful Business.
3. Chunk it Down into 90-Day Goals When chunking your 12-month goals down in 90-day goals, you need to figure out which things are on the critical path to your success.
I love using Gary Keller’s philosophy ‘The One Thing’ to do this, which is:
“What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” – Gary Keller
When it comes to 90 day goals, I ask myself this question (based on Gary Keller’s ‘One Thing’ philosophy):
“What are the key things I can achieve in my business that make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
4. Break Down Your 90-Day Goals into Actionable Steps. Once you have your 90-day goals defined, you’ll need to break each one down into actionable steps.
I love using Trello to capture my actionable steps. It allows me to go in and break each goal down into actionable steps that are specific, defined, and have a deadline attached to them. This gets me out of procrastination, fast!
Here’s a screenshot of what my overall goal setting Trello board looks like:
I then break down each umbrella goal into actionable steps, as shown in my Trello card breakdown below.
5. Block time in your diary to action your goals!
If you don’t block time to actually work on your goals, you’ll never get them done! Once I started blocking time in my diary to work on my goals, I actually started getting stuff done – and fast.
Here’s an actual screen shot of my diary from last month when I was working on my Pathfinding online program. I blocked time to work on my goal, and I didn’t let anything interfere with that.
If for some reason something comes up that interferes with your blocked time, be sure to shift that time block to another day in the future. Don’t delete it!
Have you ever wondered how some businesses have the time and energy to show up on social media with great content, consistently?
I used to wonder that too.
Back when I first started my business, several coaches advised me that I needed to ‘put myself out there’ and be posting on social media daily, as well as doing live videos at least once per week. So I dutifully started doing this, only to realise within a few months that this was all I was doing.
I didn’t have time to focus on anything else and I felt like I was spinning my wheels.
So much of my time was taken up with:
Trying to figure out what I was going to post about each day (and changing my mind countless times).
Trying to figure out how I was going to talk about the topic I’d finally chosen (and maybe change my mind one more time).
Creating the content, revising it, refining it, critiquing it, deleting it, procrastinating, and finally pulling something together to post.
Spending half a day trying to record a five minute short video.
Spinning my wheels with indecision and self-doubt.
Needless to say, this was all extremely time consuming and it was stressful knowing that I wasn’t spending any time doing the things required to actually grow my business like:
Getting out and having real conversations with people.
Following up with warm leads and getting them signed up into my coaching programs.
Creating, testing, and refining the content for my coaching programs and offerings.
A large part of this is a normal part of being a new business owner and being new to social media and the world of ‘content creation’.
But the other major factor contributing to this never-ending, pointless hamster wheel is a complete lack of organisation or strategic plan around your social media presence.
If you’ve been in business a while, you’ll know that it’s critical to build trust and confidence with your audience so that they feel safe spending their money with you.
You build credibility by:
Creating compelling content to share your ideas and knowledge, consistently (i.e. content marketing).
Develop social proof so others know you’re credible (testimonials, reviews, awards etc).
Build a network of brand advocates who spread the good word on your behalf.
And it’s point number one that we’re talking about here – Content Marketing.
So firstly, what is Content Marketing, and why should you bother doing it?
My definition of Content Marketing is:
Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of digital information (blogs, videos, workbooks, social media posts etc) to stimulate interest and build awareness of your products or services. It builds trust, credibility and confidence in your brand. Its purpose is to provide value to the customer, and ultimately to turn your followers into paying clients.
Content Marketing runs on the philosophy that you should provide free value to your customer about 80% of the time (as a way of building trust and confidence), and then you pitch (sell) your services around 20% of the time.
This is distinct from Direct Response Marketing, which is a sales technique designed to evoke an on-the-spot response and encourages a prospective customer to take action on an offer being advertised (like all those Facebook and Instagram ads you see coming through all the time).
Direct Response Marketing uses paid advertising to deliver fast results.
Content Marketing is free and takes longer to see results, but allows you to build up a catalogue of great content and followers and establishes you as a leader.
Since Content Marketing is free and gets results, why wouldn’t you apply it in your business?
Here are the benefits of Content Marketing – all for free!
It builds brand awareness.
It generates website traffic.
It grows your email database.
It gives you a competitive advantage.
It increases client engagement.
It generates leads and conversions.
Different Types of Content
Content is any information you put out into the world to inform, educate or sell to your audience. There are different types of content as shown in the graphic below.
Long form content (high effort, less frequent) This includes things like longer blog posts (800- 2000 words), 30-60 minute videos, or a podcast. They require effort and time to research and pull together and they demonstrate depth of thought and expertise.
Short form content (medium effort, more frequent) This includes infographics (i.e. images that demonstrate a concept graphically, e.g. a health coach showing how gut nutrition works), or short form blogs (400-600 words), or a short video (< 10 minutes).
Social media posts and curated content (low effort, frequent). These are posts that contain an image and short text description or they can be content shared from other experts in your field (curated content).
So how do you implement a Content Marketing strategy that allows you to be consistently visible, but doesn’t consume all your time?
You need to find a system that works for you and that you’re able to implement consistently.
7 Steps to Building Your Consistent Content Marketing Strategy
1. Set Your Intention and Business Goals
There’s no point implementing any kind of marketing strategy without being crystal clear about what you want to achieve with it. How do you want your content marketing to serve you?
My personal content marketing strategy has several goals:
To grow my email database consistently with 20 new warm leads per week.
Generate 5 Free Business Strategy Sessions per week.
Consistently build my brand visibility, credibility, and awareness through weekly live videos and a consistent, high-quality social media presence.
What is it you want to achieve with your content strategy? Do you have the digital infrastructure in place to achieve those goals? If not, how will you implement it? (Please reach out here for a free strategy session if you need help with this!).
Be sure you have solid goals in place before you proceed.
2. Decide on a Content Strategy that You can Stick to Regularly.
Consistency and leverage should be your key goals with any marketing strategy. If you create a blog post, be sure to get maximum leverage out of it by creating multiple social media posts on your blog topic across all your different platforms, and create videos on your blog topic too.
Here’s the strategy that works for me (and works for many of my clients too).
You create one piece of long form content (per week, per two weeks, or per month, depending on the frequency you can commit to consistently). Then you turn that long form content into multiple social media posts that can be scheduled out over time using a social media scheduler.
I personally generate one piece of long form content every week (but I also have a backlog of content now that I can draw on and recycle if I don’t get time to create a new one).
As you can see in the image above, you can generate 23 social media posts to go out across your different social media channels, just from that one piece of content.
We’re certainly not recommending you get across all of these different platforms (we usually recommend that you master 2-3 platforms first), but once you have a long form piece of content, it really isn’t too much work to turn those into short social media posts or videos.
What are you going to choose as the central piece of your long form content? A blog? A vlog? A podcast?
And which social media platforms are you going to focus on to leverage your long form content?
Write it down and commit to it. You might need to try several different strategies before you land on one that works for you and that you can stick to consistently. It took me several years to finally land on my strategy that now works for me. Be prepared that this will be a process of trial and error initially, but commit yourself to finding what works for you!
3. Determine the Frequency of Content Creation
Now you know how you’re going to approach your content marketing, you need to figure out how often you’re going to create your original content and the leveraged posts that you create from that content.
Here’s what you need to do:
Decide how often you can commit to creating one long form piece of content. Will it be once per week? Once per month?
Decide how many social media posts you want to create from your single piece of long form content. To leverage your long form content, you should generate at least 4-6 social media posts from one blog/video/podcast.
Determine your frequency of social media posting based on your content creation frequency. For example, if you only blog/vlog once every two weeks, and you only want to create 6 social media posts from that content, you’ll be able to schedule your posts to go out every 2-3 days.
Now that you have a plan to follow and a frequency to stick to, you can get busy creating your content on a consistent basis!
4. Develop Your Ideas Database: Determine Your Content Categories.
When you’re not clear about what you need to write or post about, it’s easy to get into procrastination and time wasting (I’m sure you can relate). A game changing strategy for me has been to develop a large database of topics and ideas for my blogs that I can choose from and plan out for each month, so that I never have to worry or think about what I’m going to write about.
Here’s how you can easily develop a huge database of content topics and ideas.
Hint: If you take the time to do the following exercises, they will transform your business!
Choose how you’re going to break down your business into different umbrella categories.
For example, for business coaching, my categories are as follows (what are yours?):
Business Strategy & Growth
Mindset & Personal Growth
Marketing & Selling
Time Management & Productivity
5. Develop Your Ideas Database: Use Content Multipliers to Expand Each Category into Multiple Topics.
Once you have your categories, it can still be difficult to break it down into multiple posts. This is where ‘content multipliers’ come in extremely handy, which are different ways to present the same or similar content, or at least help you generate ideas to maximise your content.
Different types of content multipliers you can use:
How to’ article: Tutorials or walk-throughs, e.g. How to Build Your Email Database.
Listicle: List-based articles, e.g. 5 Apps that will Help You Easily Streamline Your Business Processes.
Editorial: Standard type of blog post, e.g. The 6 Stages of Business Growth
Curated: A list that brings together great content from other influencers in your niche, e.g. 10 Books that Every Business Owner Needs to Read
Interview: Interviews with clients, colleagues or other leaders in your industry (e.g. How Natasha built her six figure business within twelve months)
Personal Story: Write about your personal experiences, e.g. How I grew my email database from 50 to 2,000 in six months.
Case Study: Write about a client’s experience or journey.
Fun post: A post with the goal being to entertain, e.g. My favourite 10 social media ‘faux pas’
What post: A post that explains a concept, e.g. What is a Profit & Loss Statement?
Why post: A post that explains the importance of a concept, e.g. Why you need to understand the six stages of business growth.
Resources: Create a list of helpful resources, e.g. My favourite five books to help you master your money mindset.
Reviews: Write a review on a particular product or service, e.g. A Review of the Best Email Database Managers.
News-jacking: Leverage a news-worthy topic that people in the industry are talking about, as long as it relates to your audience.
6. Develop Your Ideas Database: Create a Matrix to Map Out Your Topics.
Use the content multipliers above to create 10+ topics for each of your content categories and then get those ideas into a matrix.
I love to use Trello for this, as it’s a great way to capture, store, and organise your ideas while also giving you the flexibility to easily change or move things around if you change your mind (as I do all the time). An excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet will also do the job fine.
Below is a screenshot of my Topic Database stored in a Trello board where I map out my topics using the content multipliers.
This means I never run out of ideas to blog about!
7. Schedule Out Your Topics so you Know Exactly What You’ll be Writing About, and When.
Now that you have a database of content topics to draw from, you can schedule out when you’re going to create a long piece of content for each one of them.
As mentioned, I create one blog post per week, which I then turn into 3-4 social media posts one each platform (which means I’m posting every second day).
Once I’ve created the blog article, I store the blog link in a Trello card and attach the social media images to go with it too. That way I can schedule out the social media posts straight from Trello.
8. Block Time in Your Calendar to Prepare Your Content.
It’s all well and good to map out a content calendar, but if you don’t block the time in your calendar to create the content, it will never happen!
The most effective way to create content without letting it take over your life is to batch your time. Which means scheduling time in your calendar to create all your content in one sitting.
I work on a weekly basis, so I spend half a day each week preparing and scheduling my content (I’m very fortunate to now have a Virtual Assistant to help me with the scheduling, but for years I did it myself!).
I highly recommend that you block at least half a day each week to create your content (if you create content weekly), or block out a whole day or two days each month if you like to prepare a whole month’s worth of content.
Now that you’ve prepared your content (your blog/vlog/podcast and all your social media posts and videos), you can schedule them out to go out consistently over the period of time you’ve chosen.
My favourite scheduler is Hootsuite because you schedule across all the different social media platforms (including LinkedIn), and they provide you with a dashboard so that you can see a clear overview of where and when your content is going across the different platforms. You can move scheduled posts around or spread them out to get an even, consistent presence in the way you want.
10. Review and Refine Your Content Marketing Strategy
You’ll have to monitor how your marketing strategy is working and whether the quantity of work required is manageable for you. As I mentioned, it took me a long time of trial and error to find a strategy that I could implement consistently.
If you’d like to talk through different options for your business, please reach out!
As I’ve said many times, commit to showing up consistently!
Make your content deadlines non-negotiable. And watch how your leads start to grow.
Are you starting or growing your own business? Get your FREE copy of The Fempreneur Success Handbook (see below) and discover everything I wish someone had told me back when I was starting my business in 2012!
I hope you found this helpful, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions to email@example.com. I love hearing from you!
Back in late 2017 I was feeling really frustrated in my business.
I’d spent tens of thousands of dollars on different business programs and I’d worked with lots of different coaches to grow my business.
There was so much conflicting advice and information out there and every program and coach promised that they had the solution to my business challenges.
But nothing had helped me to get the traction and momentum that I needed.
I’d had some success. I’d developed a coaching program and rolled it out to many women who’d gotten transformative results with it. I’d run my first online group program with great engagement and results.
For a couple of years I’d made a reasonable amount of revenue, but certainly nothing I could live off.
I’d reached and helped all the people who were the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in my network, i.e. those people who knew me and needed my programs.
But then I’d hit a huge roadblock.
How could I get my message out to people beyond my network in a powerful and compelling way?
How could I start making decent money? (I was hardly breaking even).
How could I turn my business into a thriving, profitable venture that felt fun and exciting instead of feeling like a frustrating and draining ‘hobby’?
It was around that time that I saw a Facebook Ad for women in business, asking “Do you want to start making the money and impact you deserve?”
YES! That was me.
It was a free event hosted by the powerhouse founder of Fempire, Marnie LeFevre, and I signed up straight away.
The event was incredible and I came away with so much new practical, grounded knowledge and insight that I felt could actually (finally) make a difference.
I signed up for the 3-day Fempreneur program to continue the journey with Marnie, together with a great group of other women (who are still my close friends today).
It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
During our three day Fempreneur workshop, Marnie unpacked her Fempreneur Business Mastery Formula, which is the exact formula she’s used to build multiple successful businesses and to become a multi-award-winning CEO.
It’s the formula I now use as a Fempire Coach to help female business owners to start and grow their profitable businesses.
The Business Mastery Formula contains two essential components: the inner work (mindset, confidence etc) and the outer (strategic, practical) work.
And the formula works.
Once I went away and started applying the Mastery Formula in my own business, things started to improve quickly. I finally started feeling the momentum and satisfaction I’d been craving all those years.
My coaching business started to take off.
And this is why I decided to become a Fempire Coach, because I’m passionate about helping women to apply this Business Mastery Formula in their own businesses.
I want to see more women succeed in business.
Because I believe that when women take their rightful place as equally successful and impactful business owners globally, the world will be a better place.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve now taken our 3-day in-room workshop into the online space and it’s now being run over 6 weeks – starting on the 27th April (and again on the 11th May 2020!).
The price has been massively reduced so that we can help more women in business during this time of need.
We’re passionate about giving as many women as possible the tools and strategies for business success during this time, because we know you need them more than ever.
Here are some of the areas we cover in the program.
The Inner Work
Your passion and purpose.
Your personal and business ‘why’.
Harnessing your intuition.
Growth & confidence.
The Outer Work
Powerful and compelling branding, marketing and messaging (this is so critical!).
Packaging of your products and/or services.
Positioning yourself powerfully in the market to stand out from your competitors.
Money and pricing strategies.
Promotional strategies (content and social media marketing, inbound marketing/SEO).
Selling and converting leads into clients.
Once you get all of these elements right, things start to flow.
Here are just some of the things we workshop in our time together.
Accurately and powerfully identify your target market and avatar so you can reach the right people.
Getting you armed with powerful branding and clear marketing messages that you gain curiosity and sell more.
Your elevator pitch workshopped to perfection.
Developing your compelling ‘brand why’ that magnetises the right people to you.
Mindset tools for women CEOs to 10x their business profit and impact.
Price setting, packaging of products/services to reflect your true value.
A full social media strategy and content marketing plan.
How to sell and close more clients.
How to build a solid foundation then scaling for success.
Online and offline marketing templates and blueprints.
Email marketing templates, blog matrix, testimonial questionnaire, cash flow forecasts.
Full social media sales funnel mapped out for your business.
How to turn your website into a powerful marketing tool that generates new clients.
Creation of a mini marketing plan for you to action straight away.
Positioning statements to help you stand out from the crowd.
Business planning and goal setting so you can get where you need to be in the shortest time.
The New Online Format for The Virtual Fempreneur 6-week Experience
The Fempreneur program will now be delivered online over SIX weeks, giving you time to digest the content and do the homework.
One comprehensive training module per week delivered online via pre-recorded video so that you can watch it at a time convenient to you.
One LIVE Q&A Zoom session each week with Marnie and the Fempire Coaches. This will be a chance for you to ask any questions you have about the training, clarify the information and tasks, make connections and bond with your new sisterhood all over Australia, share your progress with the group and gain feedback, and to work through the challenges you may have.
Pairing with an accountability partner. Together you’ll help each other stay on track with the materials and support each other through any stumbling blocks.
The detailed Fempreneur workbook posted to you beforehand (this is stil my go to ‘Bible’ for business growth!).
A private Facebook group to connect and bond with your Fempreneur sisterhood.
We truly believe that this format will be a very powerful way for you to learn everything you would normally receive in the in-room format, in fact, we believe it might prove to be much, much better!
We can’t wait for you to receive all the value and support you need to up-level your business during these challenging times.
Are you ready to finally get your business where it needs to be?
What is it costing you to stay stuck?
Come and join our sisterhood of successful, impactful business owners and finally get the support you need to make the money and impact that you deserve!
Are you starting or growing your own business? Get your FREE copy of The Fempreneur Success Handbook (see below) and discover everything I wish someone had told me back when I was starting my business in 2012!
Less than four weeks ago, our Fempire team was busily preparing for our big national tour of Australia which would consist of a five-city tour (Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) to inspire, educate & empower women in business with free marketing and social media trainings.
Our live, in-room training events of 100+ ladies are also the way we promote our business and coaching programs to generate new clients and revenue.
We’d had the biggest number of sign ups for all of our events. We were booked out for our Perth event, our hometown. We’d been celebrating the fact that our new Facebook advertising strategy had been working better than expected.
We were expecting over 200 ladies at The Crown in Perth on the 14th March for our free 4-hour event, where we teach a range of mindset and marketing strategies to help business women make more money and impact in business.
And then the COVID-19 disaster hit.
It was early days and there hadn’t been any social distancing measures announced by the government. But it was already starting to feel scary and we’d all been watching the disasters unfold in China, Italy and Spain.
Given the fear and chaos that was starting to ripple across the world, as to be expected, only half of the expected attendees showed up to our event in Perth after all.
As disappointing as it was, we completely understood why.
We’d been unsure about whether to proceed with the event, but with a lack of clear direction from Crown or from the government, we decided to show up for the hundred-odd ladies who still wanted to come.
Unsure about how the situation was going to unfold, the team decided (cautiously) to continue with the next four events over east and flew over to Adelaide. We’d put so much effort and resources into the planning of these events that form the lifeblood of our business, so we felt we at least had to try.
And that’s when things started getting really bad with the COVID-19 situation.
The government announced bans on events of over 500 people. And even though our events were much smaller, the fear was causing everyone to worry, including us.
After delivering the event to a small audience in Adelaide (only half the predicted audience showed up, same as in Perth), in good conscience we made the call to cancel the remaining three events in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, our biggest audiences.
It was hugely disappointing.
But we knew it was the right thing to do.
After returning to Perth, licking our wounds, the team took a few days to rest and process what had just happened.
This was a huge hit for Fempire. Our client- and revenue-generating activities had come to a halt.
It took a few days to process it all.
But like everyone else, we’ve hunkered down, re-grouped and come up with a comeback strategy to survive these times.
Taking Things Fully Online
The main strategy to ‘pivot’ in these circumstances of course (like everyone else), has been to take all of our offerings online.
Our Fempire team has had extensive experience over the years with delivering coaching and trainings both in-room and online.
However, our big ‘tour’ events, which comprise the start of our business funnel (and are the main way we generate new clients), have always been live and in-room in different cities around Australia. Fempire founder Marnie LeFevre is a renowned speaker and award-winning CEO and has the ability to attract and inspire large audiences at a time. Her free trainings are always a great entry point for our clients into the Fempire sisterhood of business coaching and training.
But, we’re now faced with a situation in which live events are of course not possible.
And given the current conditions, the online space is where we have to be 100% if we’re going to survive these times.
To that end, we’ve had to convert our in-room events to online events as follows:
1. Converting our live, in-person 4-hour free events into a 90-minute online webinar. We’re now in the process of converting our live events into an online webinar of 90-minutes, with the first three being delivered this week to the Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne rooms that missed the tour entirely. We’ll be releasing more in coming weeks to the other states. This is an exciting time as we test the validity of the online approach for generating new clients. But we’re going all in with optimism and a can-do attitude!
2. Converting our in-person 3-day Fempreneur workshops into the online space. Typically we run our live, 3-day Fempreneur workshops three times per year for business women in the startup space. We usually have 15-25 women in the room per workshop. We teach them the fundamental marketing and mindset strategies they need to grow their business into a profitable enterprise. We’re now in the process of converting our 3-day workshop into an online program delivered over six weeks. Our first online Fempreneur program will kick off in April. We’re putting a lot of thought and attention into how we can deliver a value-packed program that delivers as much ‘punch’ as the in-room version. And we’re confident we’ll do it!
3. Taking all of our coaching programs and in-person business trainings online. We’ve always offered and delivered online coaching and training as part of Fempire. However, obviously now all sessions are being conducted online via Zoom. We have many clients who have always preferred to meet in person. So we’ll have to see how this goes for them during this time.
Fempire’s Experience with In-Person versus Online Events and Programs – the Pros and Cons
Part of the reason we’ve resisted the online space up until now for our tour events is because of the reasons below.
However, if anything this COVID-19 experience has taught us the need to diversity and not to have “all of our eggs in the one basket” when it comes to event delivery models.
Advantages of in-person events and trainings
There’s no doubt that in-room, live experiences create faster connection, bonding, vulnerability, and transformation than online virtual events.
Women form deep connections and friendships after spending time in-room together, and these connections last well beyond the training.
Women need in-person connection with other women to feel truly supported and nurtured.
As coaches/trainers, it feels easier to give personalised support to clients one-on-one, in person.
Sometimes a hug can make all the difference! And often, that’s exactly what our clients need.
Advantages of online events and trainings
Suddenly you’re not constrained to a physical location anymore to deliver your offerings. You can literally reach anyone, anywhere in the world,and become ‘international’, relatively quickly.
There are no costs for travel, room hire or catering, which brings costs down significantly.
For many of our clients it’s easier for them to attend an event from the comfort of their own home rather than travel and spend time away from home.
Due to the low cost of delivery, you can run your programs and events more frequently to generate a more steady client stream.
A major disadvantage of online trainings and events compared to in-person programs
In our experience with delivering both in-room and online programs over the years, one of the major disadvantages of online events is the lower retention of clients. Our private coaching programs run over twelve months because that’s how long it takes to establish a sustainable, profitable business.
But when the program is run online, typically it’s hard to retain clients beyond the six month mark. The human, in-person connection is critical for keeping clients engaged. Client drop-off rates are much higher in the online space.
The big lesson learned from the COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 situation has brought it home for us that it’s important to be diversified in your offerings.
We’ve realised that it’s important to offer both in-person and online client-generating models in future.
Have you been wondering whether blogs are passé, or whether you really need one for your business?
Have you been procrastinating about starting a blog because you’re not convinced of the value of having one?
If so, the following points should clarify any misconceptions you have about blogging and convince you to either start one, or to keep going with your blog.
I wrote my first blog article in 2013 and it’s been the main vehicle through which I’ve grown my audience over the years.
Today, my blog is the cornerstone of my marketing and content strategy and I couldn’t recommend blogging highly enough as a tool for you to grow, evolve, and profit as a business – for the following powerful reasons.
10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog
1. Blogging is a highly effective form of inbound marketing (SEO)
In this modern era, you need to be actively engaged in ‘inbound marketing’, which is the art of drawing customers to your products and services via content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s how people find you organically through search engines, without you lifting a finger!
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is anything you ‘push’ out into the world, like advertising, events or social media posting.
A blog boosts your SEO by giving Google and other search engines an abundant supply of keywords and phrases to work with so that it can link the people who are searching for content to your website.
This is a compelling enough reason to start blogging on its own, but if you need more convincing, keep reading!
2. A blog gives your brand a voice and helps you stand out from your competitors
Consumers want to buy from brands who they resonate with and who have similar values.
Blogging is a great way to give your brand a voice and to share your insight, perspective and views so that your ideal clients can connect with you and become loyal fans.
3. It keeps your website content ‘fresh’ and increases your search engine rankings
Google and other search engines love websites with new, fresh content and they reward those websites by increasing their rankings in search results. If your website hasn’t been updated in a while, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
Include a blog module with the last three posts of your blog on your website Home Page so that your home page is updated each time you publish a new blog (this is good for Google rankings). Plus, when you get into a habit of regular blogging, it signals to search engines that you’re an up-to-date, relevant website and you also provide search engines with a continuous supply of keywords and phrases to continue boosting your rankings.
4. It establishes you as an authority in your field
Blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise and passion in your field. When you take the time to provide relevant, valuable information to your audience on a regular basis, you establish yourself as a leader in your field and your audience will respect you for it.
5. It helps you organise your thoughts and ideas.
I love blogging because through the writing process I discover what I think about certain topics and it helps me to organise my thoughts and ideas. This in turn makes me a better coach and teacher.
Over time you’ll become more articulate and confident in your thoughts and ideas, which makes you a better business owner.
6. It builds trust and confidence in your brand.
Regular blogging shows that you’re committed to sharing your knowledge in your field and providing value to your customers – for free – which increases your credibility and instils trust and confidence in your brand.
And people want to buy from brands who they know, like, and trust.
7. It teaches you important reflection and introspection.
Blogging forces you to take time out from the busy-ness of your day to sit and reflect deeply on a particular topic. This process teaches you introspection, which leads to greater depth of knowledge and self-awareness, which makes you a better leader.
8. It makes you a better writer and communicator.
You become a better writer when you commit to writing your thoughts and ideas down on a regular basis. Like everything, we get better at writing and communicating through practice.
I laugh now when I look back at some of my early blogs (and feel a little embarrassed!). It’s a wonder to see how far my writing has grown and evolved over the years since I’ve committed to regular blogging. And you will find the same too if you keep up the practice.
9. Amplify your brand’s reach.
If people resonate with your message, they’ll share your blog with their friends and family, giving you a much greater reach without any paid advertising on your part.
Remember to ask your audience to share your article and use social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your blog to their platforms.
10. It’s free publicity.
Blogging is free PR!
You don’t have to wait to get featured in a media outlet, journal or magazine, you can simply put your thoughts and ideas out into the world off your own bat – because you can!
Blogging is one of my favourite things in the world for growing my business. If you’d like some guidance on how to get started or to up-level your blogging efforts, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to chat with you!
Want to know more about how to start and grow a wildly successful business? Get your FREE copy of The Fempreneur Success Handbook and start building your Fempire now!
We often get asked the question by clients starting out in business:
“Do I really need a website?”
The short answer is: YES.
While you might be generating some good business so far just through your Facebook Business Page or your Instagram page, without a website you’re missing out on all of the potential business from people who are actively searching for your product or service online.
A good website needs to look both aesthetically pleasing (i.e. look professional with compelling branding and messaging), but it also needs to be functional and convert your website visitors into leads and paying clients.
Below is a list of the top 10 things you need to build into your website to optimise your online real estate and maximise your chances of winning the clients you deserve.
10 Essential Things You Need to Have on Your Website
1. Powerful Branding and Messaging.
First impressions matter.
Website visitors will only become paying clients if they feel a sense of trust and confidence in your brand. And that trust and confidence is built in large part through your branding and messaging.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get good quality design and branding done, and this is not an area you want to do on the cheap. Get a professional to help you with your logo and brand style, and take the time to get crystal clear and powerful with your messaging.
Our 3-day Fempreneur workshop is focused specifically on helping you to develop a powerful branding and marketing strategy for your business. Click here to inquire about upcoming dates and workshops.
2. A Clear Call to Action
After you’ve instilled trust and confidence with your branding and messaging, you need to tell visitors what they need to do to engage with you.
Do they need to book a Discovery Call with you? A Free Initial Consult? Do they need to call to make a booking?
Whatever the action is, make it very clear and very easy to do.
Tell your lead what the next steps will be and be sure to follow up with them quickly!
3. A Capture Opportunity
A capture opportunity is where you invite your website visitors to download something of value for free, in exchange for their email address and contact details, via a ‘pop-up’ or email opt-in. Once they’ve downloaded your free product (often referred to as a ‘lead magnet’, which might be a free training, or E-Book for example), they join your email database where you can stay in regular contact with them and build a relationship with them.
One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is to build your email database and nurture the relationship with your community. This helps people get to know you better, to build trust and confidence in your brand, and eventually, when the time is right, they’ll want to do business with you.
Be sure to provide a phone number or email address so people can contact you directly without having to go through an online contact form.
I know that I personally feel frustrated if I have to go through an online form if I want something. I’m a fast action taker and I need to know how I can contact someone directly, straight away, otherwise I’ll ‘bounce’ (click away).
5. Easy and Clear Navigation
Make it as easy as possible for people to find what they need.
Use a logical, user friendly navigation map.
Don’t use more than six headings in your navigation menu, otherwise it becomes too complicated.
Test it out on your friends and clients to see how they experience your site navigation and make it simpler and easier where you can.
6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via search engines like Google. For search engines to find your website, you need to invest some time and money in optimising your site SEO.
Take some time yourself (or better yet, engage an SEO expert) to research the important long-form and short-form keywords that people are searching for in your niche and use these keywords across your website so that search engines can find you.
You won’t get found without good SEO! It’s absolutely critical that you pay attention to this.
To learn everything you need to know about SEO, check out these two related articles:
As we’ve said, people are more willing to buy from you when they feel a sense of trust and confidence in your brand. And one of the quickest ways to establish trust is through video.
Give your visitors a chance to experience you in person and to hear you speak and interact with them. It gives an instant sense of familiarity and connection which makes it easier for visitors to know if they like you and if you’re a good fit for them.
If you don’t have video on your website yet, get onto it sooner rather than later!
8. Your Blog
A blog is a catalogue of articles or videos (or a combination of both) where you showcase your ideas and expertise on different topics.
A blog is essential for many reasons, but some of the top reasons for needing a blog on your website are:
It drastically increases your website SEO: Your blog is filled with keyword-rich phrases that gives search engines greater opportunity to increase your search rankings. Plus, blogging keeps your website content alive with regular ‘fresh’ content which automatically increases your search engine rankings.
It established you as a leader in your field by demonstrating your expertise and passion.
It helps you to organise your thoughts and ideas so you become a better communicator in your field.
It gives your brand a unique voice, personality and perspective.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a fast website load speed time. If it takes longer than a few seconds for your site to load, your visitors will ‘bounce’ and this damages your Google rankings.
The loading speed of your site depends most heavily on the website host you use. There are many different hosting options available (examples are Smarter Websites, SiteGround, GoDaddy etc). Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. And this is not something you want to skimp on because it has significant impacts on your ability to develop leads and clients. Do your research and be sure to get some good advice before deciding on a website host.
10. Social Proof & Social Links
Getting back to building that essential trust and confidence, your website visitors will want to see that you have ample ‘social proof’ in the form of testimonials, affiliations or industry awards. Highlight your best testimonials on your website, showcase any awards you’ve won and any media outlets you’ve been featured in.
Also, people will want to check you out on social media (to establish whether they know, like and trust you), so make it easy for them to find your social profiles and provide direct links to take them there.
I hope these top ten tips have helped you and if you need help to start or grow your business, please reach to me directly at email@example.com. Let me help you to get your business where you need it to be!
Back in early 2018 I was really struggling in my business.
We’d just returned from six years overseas and I was trying to establish my new career coaching business in my hometown of Perth, Australia.
Like many women, I’d left my corporate career when I gave birth to my first child because it felt like my former professional role as a Consulting Engineer wasn’t compatible with motherhood.
The company I worked for didn’t offer part time roles or job-shares for returning mothers and to be honest, I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage the demands of a career as an Engineer alongside the demands of motherhood.
I’d been unhappy in my career for a long time and I knew there was something else I was ‘meant’ to be doing.
After lots of soul searching, I decided to branch out on my own and start my own business, while also raising two small children (my goodness those years were really tough!).
Like so many of us who start our own business, I thought “I’m a smart girl, I’ll figure this business thing out.”
And to my credit I did manage to figure lots of it out and I made a lot of progress.
But there was also so much that I couldn’t figure out.
There was so much conflicting advice and information everywhere.
Every single coach promised they had the magic solution or the ‘silver bullet’ to all my problems.
I burned so much money (and I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars…) on coaching programs, E-courses and private coaches.
But progress was very slow and very frustrating.
After a while I realised that I wasn’t making anywhere near the kind of money I wanted to be making and I had no idea how to position myself or package myself up to generate a consistent income.
There were so many times when I was close to giving up and going back and getting a J-O-B….
The more that time went on, my confidence started to drop and within a couple of years I was wallowing in major self-doubt and self-criticism, wondering if I’d ever make it on my own.
My husband started hinting that I should go back and get a job in engineering again.
And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, a Facebook advertisement showed up in my Facebook feed about a free workshop for women in business, focusing on social media and marketing strategy.
And it was run by Marnie LeFevre, founder of Fempire.
I hadn’t heard of Marnie LeFevre at the time, but her messaging spoke to me and something called me to sign up for the free workshop.
It was the best thing I ever did.
Marnie’s free workshop explained so much of the mystery around business building.
It helped me understand why I’d been struggling so much, and what I needed to do about it.
She gave practical tips and strategies to help me on my way.
But perhaps the most beautiful thing for me was that I finally felt supported – I’d finally found my tribe.
I was so tired of doing it on my own…
And the fact that Marnie had created a sisterhood of women in business who support each other to succeed felt like such a relief.
I went up to the back of the room at the end of her presentation and waited to speak to her (along with many, many other women!)
I’ll never forget my first interaction with Marnie.
I told her about my business and how I’d been struggling, but also how big my vision was and how badly I wanted to succeed.
She looked straight into my eyes and said:
“I can see you have what it takes but you lack self-confidence.
You just need someone to believe in you.
And I can be that person for you until you can believe in it yourself.”
WOW… my eyes filled with tears.
She was so right.
I’d lost all belief in myself. I had no self-confidence left.
And just knowing that she believed in me, without even knowing me, filled me with so much hope and optimism.
Needless to say, I signed up for Marnie’s 3-day Fempreneur course, and then signed on to be mentored by her for 12 months. I can’t tell you the relief I felt to finally get really solid, practical advice to grow my business in a way that actually worked.
Fast forward two years and now here I am, working with Marnie as a Fempire Coach and loving every minute.
My whole life changed with that one decision to attend her workshop.
I feel blessed that I now get to help so many women who are in that place of feeling stuck and confused, just as I was, and I get to help them move into a place of momentum, flow, and business success.
We all need a good mentor.
Do you have one?
Do you have someone who can believe in you until you can believe it yourself?
If not, please reach out.
Our passion and mission is to empower women like you who need someone to help and guide you along the path of building a thriving, profitable business.
If you haven’t already, reach out for a free Discovery Call to see if we’re the right people to provide you the support you need.
Maybe our programs will be the transformation that you need to get where you want to go.
If you’re feeling lonely, stuck, and confused, let’s chat!
Perhaps you started your own business because you were tired of the constraints of your job and you craved more freedom and flexibility. Perhaps you don’t like working for someone else and you wanted to be your own boss.
Or maybe you went into business because you have a product or service that you’re passionate about and you love making a difference in the lives of others through your work.
There are so many benefits to working for yourself and being your own boss really is a beautiful thing.
One of the hardest things I’ve experienced as a business coach is managing a clients’ expectations when they first come to me for coaching. Often a client will say things like “I need to generate $100k within twelve months in order to replace my corporate salary.”
I then need to introduce them to the six stages of business growth and show them how this goal is unrealistic and highly unlikely (unless they’ve already worked through the first three phases).
As you can see, there are four major phases you need to work through before you can start generating profit.
And those phases can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years, depending on a variety of factors.
The key message is that there’s a period of time in which you’ll need to invest money into the business, before your business will start returning a profit. And this is the message that many first-time business owners don’t fully appreciate when they start out on their journey.
In a nutshell, you need to invest money in order to grow a business.
Typical initial investment requirements include the cost of business registration, building your own website, developing your marketing and brand materials, and investing in any inventory or materials you need to get set up and started.
A common complaint from my clients in the beginning is that “everything costs money”.
And especially in the beginning, it feels like you’re constantly spending money on your business, with little coming back in terms of revenue. And this phase can feel extremely frustrating, uncomfortable, and scary. It will most likely trigger all your deepest fears and insecurities. This is the point where many people decide to give up and go back to get a job.
But as a startup business owner, you have to appreciate that even when you can’t see the fruits of your labour yet, all the work you’re doing is laying the foundation of a profitable business. There’s no avoiding going through this phase that feels like hard work for no return.
You have to trust that with persistence and focus, you will eventually hit break through and profit.
I highly recommend you take the time to get acquainted with the different stages of business growth and you understand the critical elements you need to be focusing on in each phase.
3 Important Reasons Why You Need to Know which Phase of Business Growth You’re in.
1. You Can Focus your Time and Energy on the Right Things.
There are so many bright, shiny objects in the entrepreneurial world (have you fallen prey to the Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) before?). Every marketer seems to have ‘the silver bullet’ to your success.
Back when I was first starting out, I spent so much money on different courses and programs, each one promising to help me finally make the progress I wanted. Everyone had conflicting advice and a different ‘system’ that made them millions, if you just follow their advice.
How do you decide whose advice to follow or what to spend your time and energy on, and when?
Once you understand the different stages of business growth, you’ll appreciate that there are a few key things you need to focus on in each phase, all of which are outlined in your FREE Fempreneur Success Handbook.
Don’t get distracted by the shiny objects and be sure to focus your precious time and energy on the right things!
2. You Can Intentionally Plan and Manage your Cash Flow.
Once you know which stage of business growth you’re in, you’ll be able to plan your financial resources more effectively.
You’ll know exactly which things to invest your money on in order to move through to the next phase most efficiently. You’ll know where to spend your money for maximum growth and biggest impact.
And perhaps more importantly, you’ll know what not to spend your precious money on in each phase of business growth.
3. You’ll Find Greater Peace and Acceptance (and Enjoyment!) with Where You Are in the Process.
You’ll need to establish different measures for your success in the beginning, for example by client feedback, by how quickly your email list is growing, or how many word of mouth referrals you’re gaining through your networking, or how your website is converting, to name a few.
Progress is all about measuring your success with the right metrics.
And appreciating that you’re moving up the trajectory of business growth, even when you can’t see dollars in the bank (yet).
I hope you find the courage and strength to stay true to your path, because with passion, persistence, and great support, you will get there and establish a thriving, profitable business!
If you’re in need of strategic advice on how to best grow your business, let’s chat! You can reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get on the phone for a free 30-minute discovery call to see if our programs are right for you!
And don’t forget to download your FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK and make sure you’re spending your precious time and resources on the right things, at the right time.
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important forms of Inbound Marketing that you can engage in as a business owner. Inbound marketing refers to marketing efforts that are designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly ‘pushing’ a brand or product. SEO is a form of inbound marketing because it draws customers to your website via organic searches in search engines (like Google,Yahoo, Bing etc). If someone is searching for something that your business offers, you want to make sure that you appear in the Google search results so that they can contact you and become a paying client.m
Outbound Marketing refers to any form of content that you ‘push’ out into the world (advertising, social media posting etc) in order to bring traffic (visitors) to your website.
But in addition to the fundamental SEO methods described in my previous article, there are also three important SEO trends that you need to know about this year if you want to stay ahead of your competition.
You can waste a lot of time and money by using marketing methods that are old or ineffective. This is why staying on the cutting edge SEO is so important. The following are some of the SEO trends you need to be aware of in 2020.
3 Critical SEO Trends You Need to Know in 2020
1. Featured Snippets Can Drive Organic Traffic to Your Website
In the past, business owners were mainly concerned with getting their website to the top of a Google search engine results page, or at the very least on page one of Google search results.
In the past few years, Google has unveiled the Featured Snippet functionality. Featured Snippets provide users with a concise, direct answer to their questions, right there on the search results page, without the users having to click through to a specific result. If the snippet is compelling and the visitor wants to know more, they’ll click through to your website and increase your web traffic as a result.
Google picks the snippet from the web page that best answers the query in a simple, concise format. This levels the playing field and leaves the door wide open for content that isn’t in the number one search result spot to be featured above everything else. This has massive potential to drive visitors to your website.
If you want to get more clicks from Google, you need to optimise what your site looks like in the search results. And you can do this with Featured Snippets.
HubSpot research has shown that content with a featured snippet gets a 2-times higher click-through rate. This is huge! But getting your website into the coveted spot of Featured Snippet is not easy. In order to accomplish this goal, you will need to work on answering common questions about your industry in your website content. Sites like Answer the Public are great for helping you understand the long tail keywords that people are searching for in a given topic.
If you’re unable to develop content for either your website or a guest posting site, working with professionals is a good idea. Outreach Mama has a plethora ofBlogger Outreach Services options to offer. With their help, getting great content and relevant back links will be a breeze.
2. Voice Search Optimisation is Important
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll be well aware of technology like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. These devices have changed the way consumers interact with search engines and other parts of the Internet. Instead of using text to find items in Google, more and more people are using their voice to search the web. As the popularity of voice search grows, you’ll have to adapt. Changing the way you approach the content on your website is essential when trying to capitalise on the popularity of voice search.
Using long tail keywords is smart when trying to optimise your website for voice search. Putting yourself in the mindset of a consumer searching for something in your industry can help you develop the right long tail keywords. Most search queries performed with voice search will be posted in the form of a question. Answering these questions can help you increase the amount of organic traffic your website receives.
3. Modern Consumers Love Video Content
If your website is devoid of video content, you need to fix this problem in a hurry.
The amount of time that consumers spent watching YouTube nearly doubled last year.
With the power of engaging and entertaining, you can draw in potential customers and increase sales. The key to making a great video is developing a script beforehand. Trying to get your point across in a concise manner will take some planning.
With an outline of what you want to cover in the video, you can avoid rambling and potentially boring the water. If you don’t have experience withthis type of marketing, consulting with professionals is vital. Paying these professionals for their help will be worth it due to the results they can provide.
Don’t Let These SEO Trends Pass You By
Now that you know more about the marketing trends of 2020, it is time to take action. These trends can help you bring your marketing campaigns into the 21st century.
One of the greatest things about the work we do at Fempire is that we get to work with inspiring and talented female business owners all across the country.
We recently had the pleasure of welcoming our youngest clients ever into our three day Fempreneur workshop in Melbourne. At just sixteen and thirteen years of age, Kellie and Abbie Thomas are two sisters who are passionate about providing quality, ethically sourced baby products for newborn babies and mothers, as well as providing opportunities for women in developing countries to establish their own livelihood through creation of baby products for sale overseas.
How do you develop such clarity and passion at such a young age, you might wonder?
Their story is a very inspiring one.
When Kellie was three years old, her younger sister Abbie was born with Left Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia that wasn’t picked up until twelve hours after her birth. She was rushed from Shepparton Base Hospital to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne to receive life saving surgery at just four days old.
As Kellie recounts: “Being in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit while Abbie recovered was so special for me. I just loved being surrounded by so many little babies and helping to care for Abbie. I nearly lost my sister, who means absolutely everything to me, everyday I praise God she survived.
The impact of Abbie’s birth left a real imprint in my heart and from then on I knew I had a passion for babies. A few years later, when I was seven years old, I decided I wanted to open my own baby shop in support of our love for babies. My dream immediately became Abbie’s and so nine years later here we are, two sisters who are passionate about nurturing and cherishing both mum and bub.”
Incredible, isn’t it?
Last year, the girls came to our Fempreneur Workshop accompanied by their incredibly supportive and encouraging mother Alice Thomas. The girls had been struggling for a while to get real traction and flow in their business and they wanted some guidance and direction on how to position themselves going forward, so they can make an even bigger difference and impact.
Perhaps one of the most powerful parts of the Fempreneur process is helping our clients get crystal clear on their ‘why’ and their purpose for being in business, and then allowing that to flow through into their branding, messaging, and their business and marketing strategy.
Thanks to the clarity that Kellie and Abbie developed during the three day Fempreneur workshop, they’ve been able to launch a complete rebrand and have found new direction and inspiration.
Here’s what the girls had to say in an email recently:
“We are writing to you because we are so excited to tell you that we have officially rebranded! Our new logo was designed and we redid our website. We are now officially selling as ‘Kellie & Abbie.’
We want to say a huge thank you for support and guidance in making this possible. The time we spent with you was incredibly useful, as it helped us solidify our business direction and pathway forward.
Since Fempire we have been in busy conversations with Thania, the lady from Indonesia who is employing improvised women to hand knit baby items. Mum has just finished writing the knitting patterns and sent them off to Thania in Indonesia, where she and the ladies are now going to send us a sample of their knitting.
We also have been busy with the creation of our salt soak and coffee scrub, we are just finalising the labels now. And Abbie has been experimenting with designs for her hand painted covers to go on our journals.
The social media strategy Kate taught us has been incredible. Through this, we have been able to connect with some beautiful mothers in Victoria who have encouraged our business and promoted who we are. We partnered with one lady in a give-away which was so fantastic!”
Thanks to the Fempreneur workshop, the girls have defined new Vision and Mission Statements for their business. Mission Statement – Kellie & Abbie To be the best family company that nurtures and cherishes mother and baby through the journey of new life, locally and globally, through family customer service and handpicked ethically sourced products. Vision Statement – Kellie & Abbie We combine our love of cherishing new life, capturing precious moments and nurturing mothers with our commitment to supporting impoverished mothers in underdeveloped countries, to provide ethically sourced unique quality products and family service for our customers.
We feel so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to support such positive, altruistic young women who are striving to make the world a better place.
Kellie and Abbie’s dedication to sourcing products ethically and to helping improve the lives of women and babies both here in Australia and in Indonesia is truly inspiring.
Please do show your support by following them on Instagram and by checking out their products at Kellie & Abbie online. Their products make perfect gifts or essentials for newborns and mothers and the love that’s put into these products is something else.
We wish them so much love and best wishes for continued success in their business!
Want to know more about our Fempreneur workshop? Message Kate direct at email@example.com to discover the dates and prices of our upcoming workshops to get your business moving in the right direction!
In service to helping you bring your business dreams to life,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D Fempire Coach firstname.lastname@example.org katiedejong.com
Fempire is unapologetically a female-focused brand. We know that women have different needs to men when it comes to starting or growing a business. We think differently, feel differently, act differently and behave differently in the world of business. We saw a need to provide women with the tailored support they need to navigate the world of entrepreneurship.
“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind.” – David Orr
Women are naturally drawn to the roles of peacemakers, healers, restorers, and storytellers – in fact, the vast majority of our clients fall under these categories – and small business is the perfect vehicle for them.
My first year as a Fempire Coach in 2018 was a wild and fast ride of rapid growth and learning. There was laughter, tears, challenges, and celebrations. And while I came into the role with many years of coaching experience under my belt in my own practice, my role with Fempire took me on an accelerated path that taught me so much about myself, about others, and about women in business in general.
In order to help you succeed as a business woman, I’m sharing the most important lessons I’ve learned in the hope that they give you comfort, help you to know that you’re not alone, and give you the courage and confidence to continue on, knowing that with courage and persistence, you will succeed as a business owner.
11 Fascinating Things I’ve Learned as a Fempire Coach
1. Most Women Struggle with the Imposter Syndrome
If you feel like a fraud when starting out in your own business, you’re not alone. Every woman struggles with the imposter syndrome to some extent, but it’s even more prevalent among female entrepreneurs because we’re constantly stepping outside of our comfort zone. According toRebecca Burn-Callande, the imposter syndrome is “the single biggest block to success” for women in business. Thoughts of “Who am I to do this?” or “When will they figure out that I’m not qualified to do this?” can send you into an anxious spin and prevent you from showing up as your powerful self, with negative consequences. I see it all the time.
And just in case you’re wondering – yes, you are completely qualified to do the work you’re doing. We need you!
2. Women Struggle to Charge What They’re Worth
Women have a natural tendency to over-deliver and under-charge. Especially if you’re struggling with the imposter syndrome, you’ll be afraid to charge your clients what you’re worth, because even you don’t believe in your own value yet. Most of my clients come to me drastically under-charging. But here’s what I’ve learned:
And if you need to start out with low prices in order to build your confidence and to prove to yourself that you definitely do add value and that you provide an amazing product or service, then do that. But make sure you increase your prices when you start to feel resentful. You’ll quickly realise that your clients are often relieved when you increase your prices because it means you’re finally stepping into your power and claiming your value. And the clients who know and appreciate your value will be more than happy to pay you what you’re worth.
3. Being a Successful Business Woman Requires Sacrifice
There’s no denying that even in this modern era of working mothers, women still do the lion’s share of household duties. In surveys across the USA in 2016, it was found that women spend twice as much time on household activities each day than men. All those school drop offs, lunch preparations, loads of washing, and kids sporting activities take time. And if you’re serious about being a successful business woman, you have to make sacrifices and compromises at home.
You need to have difficult conversations with your husband or partner around them doing more at home, or maybe you need to hire help so that you can spend the time required to grow your business. Perhaps you’ll need to put your kids in before- or after-school care. But you can’t be one hundred percent responsible for your domestic duties and grow a business at the same time. I know that for a fact. And you’ll need to decide which one is a priority for you.
4. Mother Guilt is Real
Since us women have to make the tough decisions between work and children, we carry a lot of the guilt that goes along with it. When you finally decide to sacrifice some school pick ups to grow your business, you’ll be plagued by a constant sense of guilt and at three o’clock you’ll be thinking about your kids and wondering if you’re doing them any damage by not being there. I struggle with this too, and so do all working women.
Even though it won’t rid your guilt entirely, you might be comforted to know that groundbreaking studies have shown that children of working mothers actually fare better later in life. Carmen Nobel write that “Children whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibilities at those jobs, and earn higher wages than children whose mothers stayed home full time”. Kathleen McGinn says:
So focusing on growing your business is most certainly not harming your children in any way, and may even have a positive effect. Plus, you’re being an inspiring role model for your children and helping future generations by helping them to understand that woman’s work is equally as important as a man’s.
5. Not All Women are Cut Out to Be Business Owners
The Technician: This person knows the craft of your business. If you started a clothes line, then you’re a great seamstress and designer. If you’re a life coach, then you’re great at helping people find solutions to their life’s challenges. Most of us start out in business as technicians with a honed craft.
The Entrepreneur: This person has the ideas, innovation, passion, and charm. They have the desire and ability to forge strategic relationships with collaborators and investors. They’re forward thinking, and thinking about growing and scaling. They’re focused on opportunities and closing them.
The Manager: This person is details-focused and organised. They’re a planner and always on top of the accounts, the timelines, and the project milestones. They know which items are on the critical path to success.
Gerber says that the number one mistake that business owners make is this:
And this isn’t true! The majority of us go into business because we’re technicians and we want to make a business out of it. But we’re not trained entrepreneurs or managers. These are skills that we absolutely must learn and grow.
Women who understand this and embrace it become successful business owners. They dedicate themselves to learning the art and craft of being an entrepreneur and manager and they go on to establish thriving businesses. But some women discover they’re not at all interested in becoming an entrepreneur or a manager, nor are they naturally inclined that way. And they then realise that small business is not for them.
6. Women Have Different Business Coaching Needs to Men
Having coached both men and women, and having worked among men and women during my professional career as an engineer, I’ve learned that women have different needs when it comes to coaching. Men generally need the right strategy and ongoing guidance, and they’re off and racing. As women, we need a lot more nurturing and validation. We need someone to believe in us until we can believe in ourselves. We need someone to discuss not just our business challenges with but also our emotional ones too. We need someone to remind us of our value on a regular basis. And when we get all of this, we thrive.
7. Your Coach Can’t Do Your Work for You
If you’re a business owner then hopefully you have a business coach who’s helped you to map out the best way to grow your business and establish yourself as a successful business owner. Your coach would have worked with you to develop your business vision, your mission, your goals, your business funnel, your pricing structures and your marketing strategies to promote your business, to build a sustainable and growing client base.
But unfortunately the onus is then on you to implement the advice and strategy. It’s up to you to carve out the time needed to take action on the things you agreed upon. It’s my greatest frustration when clients come to their sessions with their tail between their legs, having to admit that they haven’t done what they agreed they would do. I understand it’s hard. I have a young family too. And I really want you to be successful. But if you’re not willing to make the time to do the work that’s required to grow your business, then maybe being a small business owner isn’t for you.
8. Your Coach Can’t Save You
As a coach, my biggest desire is to see my clients succeed and to enjoy the fruits of running a successful business. And I want to be there to support you, guide you, and give you encouragement and inspiration along the way. But unfortunately I’ve had to learn the hard way that I can’t save you if you get yourself into a pickle. For example, if you’ve sold out a workshop and then you haven’t been able to generate the content for it on time, I can’t jump in and rescue you. While I would love to, I’ve had to learn (the hard way) that as a coach, I need to pull back. Because if I do it for you, I’m not empowering you or teaching you how to do it yourself. This is really hard for a coach who wants to see her clients succeed.
9. Women Thrive in Community
An essential component of our Fempire business coaching programs is the monthly group workshops we provide where all of our coaching clients come together to network, workshop, and learn business education. We often get clients coming back after they’ve left the nest, asking to re-join the group workshops again because they realise that they need the support of the sisterhood in order to thrive.
10. Once Their Confidence Catches Up, Women are Unstoppable
One of the most beautiful things I get to experience as a business coach is watching my clients grow their confidence and then blossom like flowers. Often they start their business journey doubting themselves, struggling with imposter syndrome, and under-charging for their products or services. But with the right support guidance, encouragement, and sisterhood, they start to believe in themselves, step into their power and claim their worth. And they become unstoppable. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
11. Collaboration is Infinitely More Powerful than Competition
Once women get over the need to compete with each other, and instead start supporting each other through collaborations, referrals and affiliations, amazing things start to happen. We see it time and time again. When we come together, we really do have the power to change the world.
Are you tired of feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to?
Do you wish you had a magic fairy who could wave her wand and give you three extra hours a day?
As an entrepreneur, you get to determine how you spend your time. Which is great, and if you’re like me, it’s probably one of the main reasons why you decided to go into business for yourself – for the freedom, flexibility, and fulfilment that comes with working for yourself. But on the down side, if you don’t know how to use your time efficiently, you can very easily end up spending lots of time doing stuff, but not getting much done.
Particularly if you’re a mother who’s also running a business, you’ll know that every minute in the day counts and it’s up to you to squeeze every drop of productivity out of the hours you have.
There are limitless articles out there about productivity and time management hacks. The following techniques are the ones that have allowed me to be an engaged mother at the same time as growing my business. It’s still a huge challenge and my life is messy and imperfect, but with the help of these strategies I’ve managed to achieve great things in my business in recent years.
I hope they help you too.
My Golden Rules of Productivity.
I’ll be sharing the details of the Golden Rules in the video and article below.
Productivity Strategy #1 – Stop Going with the Flow and Start Planning
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. – Benjamin Franklin
If you’re someone who likes to ‘go with the flow’ and deal with whatever arises each day, you’re not doing yourself any favours. You need to change this if you’re serious about succeeding in business. Going with the flow means you’re perpetually in a state of reaction, which is highly ineffective.
Fall in love with planning, and you will succeed. One of our coaching clients tripled her income within a year and she contributes her success to her decision to make planning a central part of her business. Her results speak for themselves.
Here are 3 planning strategies that have helped me transform the way I do business and skyrocket my business results.
1.1. Take the Time Every Quarter to Set 90-day Goals
While it’s essential to have five year and 12-month goals (discover how to develop yours here), ninety days has been proven to be the most effective length of time for getting stuff done. The reason being that 90 days is enough time to get something substantial done, while also being close enough in time that it feels urgent. It’s the ‘sweet spot’ of goal setting.
Schedule a morning or afternoon in your diary every 3 months to develop, revisit and redefine your 90-day business goals. This approach has been one of the game-changers for me. It allows you to stay adaptable while being highly focused and effective.
1.2. Weekly Planning
Block one hour in your diary every Monday morning or Friday afternoon to plan what you will work on in the coming week. Refer back to your 90-day goals, and look at the commitments you have in the diary for the week. Can you delay or cancel any appointments in order to work on your goals? Eliminate non-essential things from your diary and schedule time for things on the critical path to progress.
1.3. Time blocking
Once you have your goals defined, you need to set aside the time to work on them.
Use time blocking to block out chunks of time in your diary to get the work done. If you must move a block of time (and you inevitably will), don’t delete it but instead move it to another day – don’t delete them! Time blocking is how you fiercely prioritise and protect your business goals.
Productivity Strategy #2 – Stop Multi-Tasking and Start Batching
It’s well-known that multi-tasking is highly ineffective and causes stress. Multi-tasking generally results from being reactionary (i.e. sitting down at your desk and just responding to everything that comes up), as opposed to being proactive, which means taking the time to plan and focus your time on the tasks that matter most.
You’ll significantly increase your productivity through ‘batching’ your time, which means allocating chunks of time to similar tasks or assignments. If you’re working on a batch of work, turn off all distractions (email and social media notifications, the phone) and focus on the task at hand until it’s done or the allocated time is up.
Here are some examples of how you can batch your time as a business owner:
Spend four 3-4 hours writing multiple blog articles and schedule them to go out once every two weeks, so that you only have to write blogs once every few months.
Spend 2-3 hours per week creating and scheduling your social media posts so you only have to focus on social media once per week.
Spend one whole day recording multiple videos that can be scheduled to go out once every 2 weeks, meaning you only have to prepare videos once every 3 months.
If you’re a coach, allocate three days a week to coaching and block out the remaining two days to work on your business with focus.
Productivity Strategy #3 – Get on Top and Stay on Top of Your Email Inbox
Email is the biggest distraction and cause of multi-tasking!
Here are three recommendations with regards to controlling your email.
3.1. Turn off your email notifications! They’re the biggest cause of time loss because you’re constantly shifting your focus. Allocate time each day to read and respond to your email,and outside of that time, don’t check it.
3.2. Reduce the amount of mail you receive. Become ruthless with the emails you allow into your inbox. If you have too many subscriptions, use the Unroll.me app to give you an overview of all your subscriptions, and then unsubscribe from any sources that are not essential. When I first used this app I was in email overwhelm because I had more than 100 subscriptions! I can’t tell you how good it is to finally get out of email overwhelm and on top of your inbox.
3.3. Use the 321-Zero Rule for Email. This is a great way to control your email. Check your email three times a day, and get your inbox to zero within 21 minutes (set a timer!). You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get on top of your email when you get ruthless and use these three options to handle them:
Save and action it later.
Productivity Strategy #4 – Stop Revisiting Small Tasks. If it Takes Less than Five Minutes, Do it Now!
Another way you significantly decrease your productivity is by revisiting small tasks. When you’re in the middle of your allocated time for email, take action on the items that require less than five minutes of your time to complete. If it’s going to take longer than minutes, flag it as important and put on your list to action at a later date.
It takes time to revisit small tasks, so try to reduce the amount of time you spend revisiting things.
Productivity Strategy #5 – Aim for Progress over Perfection.
Perfectionism is a huge cause of ineffectiveness. If you keep waiting to get something perfect before it goes out, you’ll never get anywhere. If you’re someone who gets stuck in trying to get something ‘perfect’ before you send it out, pin up this statement somewhere where you can see it regularly. And stick to the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent perfect is good enough.
Productivity Strategy #6 – Get Organised with a Project Management App.
You need to find a system that works for you to keep you organised. I’ve tried so many different applications over the years to help me capture and prioritise important tasks, but I never really implemented them seriously until I found Trello. I can’t tell you how much this free software has transformed the way I do business. It’s simple, user friendly and super convenient with its phone and desktop versions. Without this tool I simply wouldn’t be able to achieve my business goals!
I hope these strategies will give you some insight into how you can better use the time you have to achieve more. If you have any comments or new insights, please reach out by leaving a comment below. I love hearing from you!
If you’re a business owner, you need to get your head around the topic of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. It’s critical to your business growth and success.
For the first few years in business on my own, I completely ignored SEO simply because I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t appreciate how important it was. If you haven’t paid much attention to it until now, I hope this article helps you to understand the basics and to take some critical first steps to getting on top of it.
SEO is also about improving the user-friendliness of your website to increase its credibility, so that search engines rank you more highly. SEO is critical to your business because it’s how people find you. If you’re a remedial massage therapist working in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, you want to make sure that if someone in eastern Melbourne searches for a remedial massage therapist, you show up in the search results!
It’s funny, and also metaphorically very accurate! If you can’t find what you’re looking for on page one of Google search results, you usually just refine the search and try a different search term, right? So obviously, you want to do everything in your power to rank on page one of Google search results.
Google is increasingly the go-to tool to find anything on the internet for the majority of the population, so it’s important that you harness it correctly. Search traffic has grown by 2000% in the past 20 years. In 1999 Google processed one billion searches, and now that number is up to 2 trillion searches per year! The average person conducts 3-4 Google searches per day (for more mind-blowing stats on Google, check out this article 27 Mind Blowing Stats About Google).
SEO all starts with understanding the keywords and phrases (long tail keywords) that people are searching for when they’re trying to find a product or service that you offer. It’s all well and good to use fancy language and phrases on your website, but if people aren’t actively searching for those terms you’re using, you won’t appear in search results.
There are some great free tools that are available to do keyword research such as the Keywords Everywhere browser extension, or the Keyword Tool, or the Answer the Public site. Take the time to research your keywords extensively. Spend at least 1-2 hours doing this if you can. And once you have an extensive list of commonly used keywords and long tail phrases that people are searching for in your field, you should keep them somewhere where you can access them regularly, and make sure you use them across your website.
There are two ways you can build your SEO capability – with ‘on-page SEO’ and ‘off-page SEO’.
‘On-page SEO’ is all about getting those keywords into as much content on your website as possible – blog articles, page titles, picture descriptions.
You want to eventually have an even spread of keywords throughout your website, however the most important places so start with are your page titles, post titles, and meta descriptions as a minimum. If you can get your important keywords into titles and meta descriptions, you’re well on your way to maximising your SEO.
Obviously you don’t want to go overboard and do what’s called ‘keyword stuffing’. Keyword stuffing is trying to get as many keywords into your site as humanly possible. But it will ultimately work against you because it doesn’t look or sound natural, and your top priority should be making your website a positive user experience so that people spend longer on your site and become returning visitors (both great qualities for increasing your rankings in Google). Plus, Google algorithms are extremely clever and they can always recognise when someone’s trying to ‘keyword stuff’ – and it’ll work against you!
Other forms of ‘on-page SEO’ include things like proper URL structure, user-friendly 404 pages (for when a link is broken), mobile-friendly pages and a fast loading page (I can’t understate how important it is to find a fast host! I highly recommend Little Bizzy for fast-loading hosting and great customer service). Slow loading pages simply won’t rank highly with search engines and your potential clients will click away before your site has had a chance to load.
‘Off-page SEO’ refers to SEO activities that are performed beyond the boundaries of the website. One of these important activities is known as link building, which is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to acquire links from other websites back to their own because it increases your site’s credibility and Google rankings.
In my short video below, I give an overview of all the very basic tips and tricks you can use as small business owner with limited tech-savviness (like me!) to optimise your SEO so that you can easily win more clients on autopilot, starting now.
Make sure you’re doing these essential things and you’ll start growing your business with ease.
3 Critical SEO Trends You Need to be Aware of in 2020
Check out this article to discover three trends that you need to know to get the most out of your site SEO and stay ahead of your competition.
If you want to be a successful business owner, you need to be keeping a close eye on your competitors.
In marketing, the act of monitoring your competitors is referred to as Competitor Analysis or Competitor Intelligence. And even though you might protest and say that what you do is unique and special, which I’m quite sure it is, the simple fact is that there are other businesses out there delivering a similar outcome to you. And when people are shopping around for the best person to deliver that outcome, rest assured they’ll also be checking out your competitors and assessing all their options before deciding to buy. I’m sure you do your due diligence and shop around before you decide to purchase something, right?
Unless your business marketing and social presence is compelling and instils trust and confidence in your brand, it will be difficult to win business over your competitors.
But that’s not the only reason you should be spying on your competitors.
You should also be doing Competitor Analysis with the intention to find ways to improve your own business strategies, and to elevate your business above the rest.
Competitor Analysis can give you inspiration and ideas on how to do things better.
And don’t worry. By doing Competitor Analysis you’re not doing anything wrong. On the contrary! Competitor Analysis is an established requirement of all marketing teams in all businesses. It’s completely legal. It’s simply the act of collecting information that is already available in the public domain and using it to better understand your position in the market.
When I first engaged in Competitor Analysis (which I resisted for a long time), I found it strangely empowering and liberating. It helped me to understand how I’m the same, but also different to my competitors. It helped me clearly establish my USP – or Unique Selling Proposition – which made all my branding efforts much more powerful. Your USP is one of the most critical ingredients in your marketing strategy.
There are 9 steps we recommend you follow for a simple but powerful competitor analysis. There are all kinds of clever ways to get competitor information online (for example Spyfu,iSpionage, Fanpage Karma etc), but it’s not necessary for a robust competitor analysis. Keep it simple to start.
Follow the 9 steps below to spy on your competitors and set yourself up for maximum business success!
How to do a Simple but Effective Competitor Analysis
1. Stay Ahead of Industry Trends & Competitors with Google Alerts
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of competitor analysis, the first thing that every business owner needs to do to stay on top of industry trends and announcements is to sign up to Google Alerts. This is a free service offered by Google that notifies you of all publications across the web for keywords that you can specify. For example, if you’re a Life Coach, you could set up an Alert using the keyword ‘Life Coaching’. Then Google will send you a daily digest of everything that’s published each day that contains that search term.
This is a fantastic (and essential) way to learn what’s happening each day across your industry and to stay on top of what your competitors are doing. These Alerts can also provide great content for your curated posts on social media.
2. Make a List of Your Top 5 Competitors
Set yourself up with a spreadsheet or table with 7 columns: 1 column on the left for the headings outlined below, 1 column next to that entitled ‘Your Business’ and then 5 vertical columns labelled Competitor #1 through to Competitor #5 (you’ll have one vertical column per competitor).
Do a simple Google Search using your industry keywords to determine who else is delivering a similar service, in a similar way to you. For example, if you’re a Health Coach specialising in the Keto diet in Sydney, Australia, you might search for ‘ Keto Health Coach Sydney’. Write down all the names of other coaches who appear in the search results. If you’re in the online space then location is not as important. Simply search for keywords that are relevant to your perfect customer and service or product.
Try to imagine that you are your perfect customer and you’re trying to find the service you offer. Which search terms would you use?
Keep searching online until you find five competitors who you feel are most similar to you in terms of business size, service or product and the specific market they’re targeting.
Before you proceed, make sure you have a table with five columns with five of your most relevant competitors at the top of each column.
3. Analyse Your Competitor’s Business Profile
Your first task is to try to understand a bit about your competitors’ businesses. In the left-hand side of your table, write down the following row headings:
Business Overview: In this row, write down any general notes that you observe about their business. What’s their business name? What’s their brand promise?
Year Established: See if you can find information in their About section on their website about how long they’ve been operating.
Website URL: Write down their domain name (e.g. ketohealthcoach.com.au).
Company Size: Can you find out how many staff or business partners they have, if any?
4. Analyse Your Competitor’s Marketing Profile
Now try to find out everything you can about your competitors’ marketing strategy by looking carefully through their website, social media profiles, and publications they’ve produced.
You might even want to sign up for their newsletter or lead magnet if they’re offering one so that you get an insider’s perspective on what’s being offered. Don’t feel awkward, people join their competitors’ email lists all the time! It’s the best way to understand how your competitors are marketing themselves. You probably have several competitors on your email database too!
Try to write down detailed information about the following:
Target Market: Who do you think is this competitors’ perfect customer? Who are they targeting? Try to be very specific, including their gender, age, education, interests etc.
General Marketing Strategies: How are they marketing themselves? Do they run live events? Do they frequent trade shows? Do they offer free discovery sessions? Are they using Facebook Ads, and if so, what exactly are they pitching? What appears to be their main way of attracting clients?
5. Analyse Your Competitor’s Product & Service Profile
Now it’s time to analyse the different products and/or services your competitors offer. In your table, write down row headings as follows:
Products/Services: Describe their products and services. What types of programs do they offer
Pricing: How much do they charge for their various products and services? This may require some digging around or joining their newsletters in order to get pricing information.
Gather as much intelligence as possible about their products and services and write it all down in your table.
6. Analyse Your Competitor’s Website Profile
I recommend doing ‘website walks’ through each of your competitors’ websites. This means taking some time to browse through all their different web pages to get a good understanding of their business. Make notes as you go.
In your table, include the following headings:
Website Overview: Is it easy to navigate? Does it look good on mobile? Is it professional? Is their branding and messaging appealing and compelling? Would you buy from them?
Lead Generation: What do they offer on their home page? Do they offer something for free in exchange for your email address (i.e. a lead magnet)? Do they offer a free consultation to get you in the door? Or do they simply provide their phone number and tell you to ‘Book Now’? Are they offering a free challenge, webinar, or telesummit? Write it all down.
7. Analyse Your Competitor’s Social Profile
Visit your competitors’ social media accounts. Write down the following headings in your table.
Social Media Overview: Which platforms are they present on? Do they get good engagement? Are they actively replying to comments? Which one appears to be their dominant platform?
Social Media Strategies: Try to figure out what social media strategies they’re using. How are they getting their followers to engage? Are they running different promotions? Do they send people to an opt-in page? Write down all the details.
Social Media Following: Make a row for each of the social media platforms and write down the number of followers they have across each one. Capture the number of followers they have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat and anywhere else they have a presence.
8. Rate Yourself Against Your Competitors
Now it’s time to use the information you’ve collected to rank yourself and each of your competitors relative to one another across the different categories. This allows you to assess how you currently stack up against your competitors.
In your table, give yourself and your competitors a score out of 10 for each of the following categories:
Social Media presence
9. Determine Your Strengths & Weaknesses Relative to Your Competitors.
Now that you’ve spent some time researching your competitors, you should have a really clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitors. Your table of Competitor Intelligence gives you a clear understanding of your position in the market, as well as the threats and opportunities for your brand.
Focus on building on your strengths!
While it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses, be sure to continue building on those areas where you’re a step ahead of your competitors. This will continue to set you apart from the rest.
Can you see how powerful this research can be? You should now feel confident and strong in where you are as a brand and know which steps to take to continue to establish your unique position in the market.
We can’t overstate the importance of Competitor Analysis for you and your business.
If you take the time to do it well, you’re setting yourself up for success!
We wish you all the best on your business building journey.
Have you downloaded your FREE copy of THE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK yet?
Learn the 6 stages of business growth and exactly what to focus your time and resources on in each phase so that you can fast-track your success and establish yourself as a thriving, profitable business as quickly as possible!
In service to your success,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs katiedejong.com email@example.com
You have passion, a huge vision and a burning desire to get your work and message into the world through your business – but how do you navigate your way through the mountains of conflicting information out there?
How do you know which advice to follow, or what to focus on first?
Our mission at Fempire is to help you cut through all the noise and help you focus on what matters most when it comes to establishing yourself as a sustainable, profitable business. Loyal customers and steady income are a result of your ability to develop trust and confidence in your brand, which takes time to build. But if you commit to implementing the following ten elements, and keep plugging away at your business with focus, passion, and determination, business success will be yours!
Here are our recommendations for the 10 most critical elements you need to implement for business success.
The Top 10 Most Important Elements That Will Set Your Business up for Success.
#1. A Professional-Looking Brand.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to your brand image. Remember, first impressions count, and in business it’s all about developing trust and confidence in you and your brand. Take the time to find a good, professional designer to create your logo, your brand colour palette and your brand fonts, and stick to your brand style consistently. Invest in some high quality portrait photos of yourself that allow your personality to shine through. It takes time to build brand awareness among your potential buyers, but it will be so much easier (and faster) if your brand looks professional.
#2. A Professional Website.
There’s a lot of advice out there about how you can build a business without a website and do all your marketing and sales through your social media channels. But if you take this approach you’re limiting yourself. Consumers searching for business in search engines will never find you if you don’t have a website. And most people will want to check out your website before they do business with you because they’re trying to establish whether they can trust and rely on you.
Your website builds brand awareness, allows you to be discoverable in search engines, establishes your credibility, and allows you to stay connected with your potential buyers through contact forms, blog comments, and your email list. Also, a website gives you the ability to do blogs, videos or podcasts – which can get you upwards of 4.5 times more leads! In this day in age, a website is a ‘must’ for your long term business success.
#3. Compelling Social Media Profiles.
In this modern age it’s essential that you have an online presence across multiple social media platforms. Your social media profiles display your credibility and authenticity. Choose at least two platforms that you will commit to and show up there consistently. You don’t have to be posting every day, but choose a consistency that you can commit to and maintain. Consistency and transparency shows that you are reliable and professional.
#4. Make Your Business Find-able.
Take some time to research the important long-form and short-form keywords that people are searching for in your niche and use these keywords across your website so that Google and other search engines can find you. Invest in your website SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) because you want to show up in search results when people are searching for services like yours. There’s a funny – but true! – saying:
Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? On page two of Google search results. – Anonymous.
You won’t get found without good SEO! Also, use appropriate hashtags so that you can be found across platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. SEO is essential for gaining paying customers. I write all about the essential fundamentals of SEO in my article How to Use SEO to Skyrocket Your Business Growth on Autopilot.
#5. Show Ample Social Proof.
Social proof is validation of you and your brand by your clients, business partners or colleagues. It establishes your credibility. You might have great marketing materials and strategies, but if you don’t show your potential customers evidence of where your service or product has worked for other people, they won’t be convinced. Social proof includes testimonials, customer reviews, brand associations, partnerships, accreditations or awards that you’ve won. It’s essential that you find a way to show genuine, compelling social proof of your product or services.
#6. Compelling and Valuable Lead Magnets.
A lead magnet is something of high value that you offer for free via your website or social media, in exchange for someone’s contact details. It’s the most effective method to grow your email database with high quality, warm leads. Your lead magnet might be an E-Book, a downloadable checklist or guide, a free video series, or a free training.
Choose a lead magnet that allows you to showcase your expertise in your niche and allows people to experience you and your brand – for free. For examples, you can check out my lead magnet page here.
Lead magnets grow your email database with potential buyers, which then allows you to nurture the relationship with them, build trust and confidence in your brand, and eventually offer your services to them so that they become paying clients. This is hands-down the most effective marketing strategy to build your business.
#7. An Email Database Manager and Follow-Up Campaign.
Once you have a lead magnet that allows you to collect the contact details of your potential buyers, you’ll need a mechanism to store all those contacts somewhere and have a way to communicate with your leads regularly. For that you’ll need an email database manager (or CRM – Customer Relationship Management) such as MailChimp, or AWeber (my favourite), or ConvertKit or InfusionSoft. For a great overview of how CRMs work and why you need one, check out this article What is a CRM by Christopher Sirk.
Did you know that on average, people require around 20 touch points with you and your brand before they’ll consider buying from you? This is why it’s so important that you begin a process of communication with your subscribers so they can get to know you and trust you. Implement a welcome campaign that includes around 2 – 5 welcome emails (spread out over 1 – 2 weeks) that provides your subscribers with information and valuable resources that showcase your expertise and establish you as an authority and leader. This will make them more likely to buy from you when you finally make your offers.
# 8. Offer and Deliver Great Services and Products.
This one goes without saying. In order to be successful in business, you obviously need to deliver services and products of a consistently high standard. Focus on delivering outstanding service and you will get great word of mouth referrals. Statistics show that 85% of small businesses get customers through word of mouth, which means you can spend less time and money on marketing and more time on doing what you do best – serving!
Find a way to package and price your services and products in a way that’s compelling and encourages repeat, long-term business with you. Develop an effective business funnel to move clients through the different offerings you have. Try to move away from charging per session or a time-for-dollar model. It’s essential that you find ways to package and leverage your services so that you can serve more people more effectively.
# 9. Produce Great Content, Consistently.
‘Content’ is the term for any original material you produce to educate or connect with your audience. Content includes blog posts, video trainings, social media posts, podcasts, or downloadable workbooks and checklists to name a few. You need to create content to build your brand awareness, to generate and nurture leads, and ultimately to generate sales.
Good content showcases your expertise, establishes you as an expert in your field, and builds that much-needed trust and confidence in you and your band. You’ll need to find a way to new, original create content regularly in order to establish yourself as a credible brand.
#10. Invest in Systems, Processes and People.
You won’t be able to do everything in your business if you want to do all of the above and focus on growing your business. You’ll need to invest in a good CRM that automatically captures and nurtures your new leads, and you’ll need to automate things such as your calendar bookings, your social media post scheduling and payment procedures so that clients can easily pay you.
It’s key that you learn to work on your business and not in your business in order to grow. As you grow, find good people to outsource your time-consuming activities to so that you can focus on serving your clients and growing your business.
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.
One of the greatest joys of being a business coach is witnessing how much progress our clients make.
Recently at Fempire we were over-joyed to receive a beautiful message from one of our clients Revital Chai, the director of Melbourne’s Paint for Fun, who was celebrating one year with the Fempire Group Coaching program – and a tripling of her income in that time! Here’s what Revi had to say:
This is the kind of feedback that makes our heart sing! This is why we do what we do, helping women like you to achieve business success so that you can make the impact and money you desire.
In our group coaching program, all of our clients receive a one-on-one private ‘Hour of Power’ coaching session each month to work on the specifics of their business, as well as a group training on a specific business topic with their sisterhood of fellow #ladybosses, over a period of twelve months.
I asked Revi if she would mind highlighting the specifics of what changed the game for her. Find out what she said below.
Revi’s Top 5 Game-Changers for Growing Your Business.
1. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Revi says: “First thing – the deep understanding that running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. As I’m a person who likes immediate results and I tend to sabotage if I don’t get instant results, it made me understand that if I want to be successful I need to have a clear vision and just stay focused in that direction. Be persistent and focused.”
It’s been Revi’s persistence and focus over the past 12 months that’s earned her the success she’s achieved. It doesn’t happen overnight, as most of us in business know only too well. But it absolutely does happen with sustained, consistent action and focus. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as Revi says!
2. To be successful, you have to start planning.
Revi’s next big game-changer was planning:
“Second – planning! I hate planning but that’s something that separates successful people from the ones chasing their tails. If it’s finances (I didn’t do cash flow before Femme), marketing and working with my team to plan, I now take the time to plan because I know it grows my business.”
3. Work ON your business, not IN your business.
“Third – work ON my business and not IN my business to become bigger. So I now have people that write text, post in social media, teach, make calls etc. so I have more time to look forward and grow the business.”
This one is so important. If you’re someone who hates to delegate, or you’re a perfectionist, you’re not going to grow your business. There’s is no way you can do everything yourself when you’re running a profitable business. Outsource the activities that are highly time-consuming and allow yourself to focus your time and effort on what’s important – those things that are required to grow your business.
4. Get uncomfortable!
“Another thing – get uncomfortable! You can’t break through if you play safe – not possible. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as I’m taking actions and making moves. Follow my instincts is a good one as well.”
Yes – if you want to grow your business, you have to get uncomfortable! Learn to become friends with fear and discomfort. Do those things that scare you but you know will open doors and bring you new clients and opportunities. And listening to your intuition and following your intuition is essential too.
5. Grow – personally and professionally.
Revi’s final game-changing strategy is:
“Finally, grow as a person, be strong mentally. Which I knew already but there’s nothing like being around one to really get it.”
Are you surrounding yourself with people who are mentally strong, who uplift and inspire you? Are you finding ways to learn and grow consistently? Do you have a mentor who’s walked the path before you and knows the right steps to take? Do you have a sisterhood of women who are there to lift you up when the going gets tough, and to celebrate your successes with you?
If not, come and have a chat with us at Fempire!
Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to give you the support, knowledge, and structures to thrive in business and life. Click here to schedule a FREE, no-obligation 30-minute discovery call to understand how we can support you to achieve your business dreams.
Did you like this article? Check out these great articles too:
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.
And when it comes to building your own business, this is 110% true. Your mindset will make or break your ability to establish and run a profitable business.
I’ve learned many lessons along the way to building my coaching practice since 2013, often the hard way.
Here are the top ten mindset shifts you’ll need to make if you want to succeed in business in the long term.
1. Your business is not about you.
It’s a wonderful thing to go into business because you want to make a difference, or you want to have more freedom and flexibility, or be your own boss (all reasons why I started my own business). But you won’t survive long in business unless you’re selling something that people need.
Your job is to figure out the ‘pain points’ that people in your niche struggle with, and then find a way to help them overcome those challenges. And do it in a way that’s different to, and better than, your competitors.
Obviously you want to do something you love and enjoy so you can go the distance, but make sure it’s something people need – and if you do, you will succeed.
2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’re going into business for a quick solution to your money problems, you’re in for a big disappointment. It takes time and persistence to build a profitable business from the ground up. You need to take consistent actions each and every day and have realistic expectations.
You have to be in it for the long haul. It won’t happen overnight.
In those start-up years, try to view your time and efforts as a process of planting seeds, with the intention to eventually harvest a crop. You’re spending your time sowing the ground, making it fertile, and nurturing your seedlings with the right conditions. Over a period of time, your seeds will start to bloom and you’ll eventually harvest the rewards.
If you’re willing to stick it out with persistence and dedication, you will absolutely get there.
3. Know your ‘Why’.
Do you know why you’re in business?
There’s a reason you’re pursuing your business.
What is it?
What’s the specific difference you want to make through your work?
Powerful brands have a clear vision that their clients resonate with.
As the great author and speaker Simon Sinek often says:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Every business knows what they do, and most businesses know how they do it – their systems, processes, or programs. But few businesses know how to articulate their why – their purpose, cause or belief. And as Simon Sinek says:
“Your WHY is why anyone would care about what you do”.
What do you believe?
When it comes to your business, finish the sentence: “Because I believe …”.
Forget about anyone else. You’re not here to serve them.
4. Be obsessed with your ‘why’.
You might have started your own business because you’re passionate about making a difference, or doing things on your own terms. But as a business owner, passion isn’t enough – you need obsession in order to succeed.
While it can be a wonderful experience building your own business, you also get knocked down and experience rejection, obstacles, and self-doubt on your path to business success. And your obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. It’ll get you back on the horse after it kicks you off.
Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over!
5. Be willing to get uncomfortable – often.
To succeed in business, you’ll have to become friends with fear and discomfort. You’ll be required to step out of your comfort zone and do things you might never have done before.
Whether it be public speaking, live videos, networking, or something else you find scary, you’ll need to put yourself out there in ways that are bigger than you have before. You’ll need to say ‘yes’ to anything that helps build your brand visibility and awareness.
It’s completely natural to feel fear – you’re literally hard-wired to feel scared whenever you step out of your comfort zone; that’s how we’ve managed to survive as a species for so long.
6. You’ve got this. Develop an unshakeable belief in yourself.
When you’re building your own business, all of your inner critics will rise to the surface for you to face. Those little voices in your head that say “You’re not good enough” (or other such untrue things) will be right there every time you make a brave decision to step out and put your work out into the public domain. Be prepared to work on your mindset constantly and do whatever it takes to develop a strong mind and an unshakeable belief in yourself and your abilities.
One of the big stumbling blocks for many small business owners is the mindset that you need to invest time and money in order to grow a business. Some people go into business thinking they’ll be making great money within 12 months, with little investment, while this is rarely the case. I’m going to use a chicken and egg metaphor here to describe what I mean and compare it to being an employee.
As a new employee, you’re joining a company that already has a profitable ‘hen’ (business structure) that’s laying eggs (generating income). Therefore as an employee, you show up and do your work, and you get paid (you receive some eggs).
But when you’re starting out in business, your job is to first build your ‘hen’. You need to go through the process of establishing profitable programs, structures and systems to bring in reliable revenue streams.
You can’t expect your chicken to start laying eggs immediately. It’s impossible! That’s like asking your two-week-old chick to hurry up and lay eggs. It won’t happen!
It takes time, money, and patience to get your business off the ground. Be prepared to build your chicken first. The eggs will come later.
8. Adapt a CEO mindset.
The mindset of a business owner is drastically different from an employee mindset. As CEO of your business, you know that the onus is on you to bring in clients, deliver great customer service and develop a base of raving fans. You need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Here are some of the qualities you’ll need to develop to succeed as the CEO of your business:
Be constantly on the lookout for opportunities and follow them up rigorously.
Get out and network and build relationships.
Stay on top of industry and market trends.
Get connected with other leaders in your field.
Be optimistic but realistic.
Take calculated risks.
Develop great communication skills.
Learn from your mistakes.
Be an inspiring leader.
Think outside the box.
Be flexible and adapt quickly.
9. Develop a positive relationship with money.
Starting a business requires money to start, to operate and for you to live on as you get established. If you’re not good at managing money, those bad habits will follow you into your business. Your ability to generate profit requires the discipline of tracking every cent and reviewing your numbers as you go, so you can start to see patterns and be on the lookout for ways to reduce your operating costs and increase your profit margins. Especially in the early years, you have to be frugal. Which is not something a lot of business owners want to hear! You’ll need to get into the habit of saving as much as you can so that you always have a cash surplus. The number two reason why most businesses fail is they“run out of cash”.
Become friendly with the concept of Return on Investment. Don’t look at something as an ‘expense’, but view it as an ‘investment’ instead. And how much are you likely to save or get back in return by investing that money? Are you prepared to spend now to save later?
10. Fall in love with planning.
If you’re someone who likes to fly by the seat of your pants, you’re going to struggle in business. Business success requires solid forward planning and strategy.
Successful business owners have their entire year of marketing and service activities mapped out, and they have budgets and income forecasts to accompany it.
You’ll need to embrace the habit of sitting down at the beginning of each month and mapping out what you need to create, achieve, and deliver. I can tell you from experience that planning is something you can learn to love, especially when you experience how much easier it can make your life – and not to mention profitability!
And perhaps most importantly – enjoy the ride!
It’s not easy to establish a profitable business, but there’s also nothing quite as rewarding or fulfilling either.
You get to be your own boss, earn your own income, and create something that didn’t exist before that has a positive impact on other people. And if you can truly enjoy what you do each and every day, the whole journey will be so much sweeter.
I hope these mindset strategies will help you set yourself up for success so you can enjoy becoming a successful business owner!
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of THE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011.Click here to download it now.
In 2018 I had the honour of being invited to join forces with award-winning CEO Marnie LeFevre as one of her coaches in the Secret Women’s Business Academy. The Academy’s vision has been to support females to become successful business women and entrepreneurs. The success rate for women in business is markedly lower than for men (ref 1), and Marnie is on a mission to change that. The opportunity felt like a perfect fit for me since I’ve always been passionate about helping women succeed professionally.
The Academy’s vision has now evolved to include a stronger emphasis on feminine leadership. As a consequence, the Secret Women’s Business Academy is now undergoing a rebrand to become Fempire. And as part of that re-brand, I am now a Fempire Coach. Our mission is “To inspire feminine leadership”. The tagline is:
The Future is Female.
And if that tagline triggers a reaction in you, it’s meant to. Marnie is a disrupter and she knows that in order to disrupt the status quo and create positive change, you need to ruffle feathers. We need to have difficult conversations. The tagline was inspired in part by the Dalai Lama’s famous words that he spoke at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit:
“The world will be saved by the western woman.” – the Dalai Lama
He made this comment while he was sitting on stage with some pretty powerful women including Nobel Peace Prize winners Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams and former Irish President Mary Robinson. When asked what he meant by his statement, he followed up with: “We need more effort to promote basic human values — human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.” (ref 2). Compassion, understanding, and kindness, he says, are the antidote to the world’s most pressing problems, and those qualities are more fully brought to the table by women. He also inferred that western women are in a position of privilege that gives them the opportunity and power to create this much needed opening and balancing of masculine and feminine roles worldwide.
In other words, it’s up to women to step up and claim their power to create the change that’s needed.
As a Fempire Coach, I now spend my days helping women to succeed in business and become successful leaders. But focusing my professional efforts on supporting women is not something I ever imagined myself doing. I’m passionate about feminine leadership, that’s for sure. One of my proudest achievements was winning the Women in Engineering Leadership Award in 2009 for supporting women to succeed in engineering leadership roles.
But gender isn’t something I’ve ever consciously attached a lot of significance to because I believe that men and women are equally competent and necessary in the workplace (I write all about that in another article here). And while I’m passionate about empowering women, I also feel equally passionate about empowering men, children, and in fact any human being to express their full potential.
And so I’ve had to go through my own internal processes of reflection and justification for why I’m now taking a powerful stand for feminine leadership by stepping into the Fempire brand. To be successful in my role, I need to resonate with the Fempire vision in my bones. And one of the most important questions I get asked by my male friends and colleagues is:
“With all this female empowerment, what’s happening to the men?”
So here are my thoughts.
Firstly, let’s define what we mean by an ‘empowered female’ is. I love Oliver Chapman’s definition:
“An empowered woman takes responsibility for her life, makes her own rules, honours herself, lives by her inner compass, values her passions, chooses empowering relationships, takes a stand, … she is courageous, empowers other women and owns her pleasure…. In this way, then, a fully-empowered woman can empower men to rise above the stereotypes of the past to become the fully-confident man he has always wanted to be and to share that confident life with her. And if all men embraced this, this world would be better off for it.”
So according to Chapman, confident women inspire men to be the best version of themselves too. The question, as Chapman points out in his article, is whether this kind of female is threatening or should be welcomed. At Fempire, of course, we would argue for the latter. But it’s understandable that many men might feel threatened as we move from the old paradigm in which the role of men has traditionally been to act as protectors and providers, into a new era in which those roles might no longer necessary.
In this new era of confident, independent women, what is the new identity for men, exactly? This is the question that many men find unsettling in the whole ‘female empowerment’ movement. And it’s understandable.
We Empower Women Through Empowering Men
Firstly, we won’t get anywhere with empowering women unless we empower men too. We are clear in our vision for Fempire: We are not a men-hating brand. Quite the opposite. We love the men in our lives; most of us at Fempire have husbands, sons, and/or fathers who we adore and cherish. And we know that our empowerment has positive flow-on effects to the men and children in our lives. Our mission is to create even more loving relationships through the work we do, for ourselves and for the thousands of women we impact.
In this era of female empowerment, we can’t forget men.
Most gender equality initiatives continue to focus on women, understandably. But a society of empowered women requires men to feel secure and empowered too. Maria Correira sums this up beautifully in her article Let’s Empower Women by Empowering Men. She says “It is not enough to enlighten and empower women and expect men to follow.” As she rightly points out, men are critically judged and assessed in our current cultural norms, based on our ideals of manhood. Terms like “man-up” suggest that being a man means exercising control over women, being tough, being strong, suppressing emotion. As Correira says, “It is also a challenge for women, who consciously or unconsciously often perpetuate these same social norms in the way they raise their sons or interact with men.”
As a mother of two young boys, I’m very conscious that my most important job is to raise boys who are kind, secure, and confident, who are comfortable with strong, confident women – and who respect and appreciate all women.
The gateway to positive relationships and empowered men, I believe, is to teach them how to be comfortable with their emotions, to be able to cry and feel, and to be able to express themselves and their needs respectfully. There needs to be a focus on helping men to move beyond traditional expectations of being a protector and a provider, and to see themselves rather as allies and equals with their female counterparts.
Female Empowerment is Good for Families
Women who feel fulfilled and happy enjoy better quality relationships at home. I know from my own personal experience that getting back into the workforce after having children was a huge positive move for my husband and I. I was happy to take time out from my career to raise our young children. However, there came a time when I was desperate to reclaim my own identity outside my role as wife and mother. My husband knew how miserable I had become. I was feeling disempowered and resentful and those negative feelings flowed onto him and the kids. He’s so much happier – we are so much happier as a couple and family – now that I’m thriving professionally and feeling happy and fulfilled again. Not to mention the relief my husband feels in not having to be the sole financial ‘provider’ anymore – that’s a heavy burden for men to carry.
There have been many times when I’ve had to go away for work and my husband has had to step up and take over full responsibility for all the domestic duties. And it’s been great for us. He’s gained a greater appreciation for everything I do, and I come back happier and energised because I’ve had some time to focus on myself and my work. My work trips have become a great tonic for our relationship as a family. We’ve all learned to appreciate each other more.
Female Empowerment is Good for the Economy
And it’s not just at the personal level that the positive effects of female empowerment can be felt – they’ve also been clearly measured at the community and global level. As Sean Illing succinctly says in his article Want Less Poverty in the World? Empower Women: “The single greatest antidote to poverty and social stagnation is the emancipation of women.”
“Women’s empowerment benefits us all, because it’s important for the economy. Countries that have opened up education to women and brought them into the workforce do much better economically than countries that keep women suppressed. It’s no surprise that countries that suppress women and deprive them of an education are more economically backwards than others, because leaving one-half of your population uneducated means that you created have a drastically inferior workforce.”
In their book entitled Equality for Women = Prosperity for All: The Disastrous Global Crisis of Gender Inequality, Lopez-Carlos and Nakhjavani (2018) describe the findings from research across 189 different countries worldwide. Their research showed how gender inequalities – a across education, income, law, employment, and wages – lead to instability and chaos at almost every level of society. Whereas in countries where females constitute an almost equal percentage of the workforce, the economy and the culture have been radically improved.
And here are some other important benefits that result from gender equality (ref 3).
Do we need any more compelling justification for gender equality across the board?
So what is the new role for men in this emerging era of ‘empowered’ women?
As we shift away from traditional masculine and feminine roles that have allowed us to evolve and survive as a species until now, we now have the opportunity to embrace a new way of relating as men and women which is based on seeing each other as allies and partners. We have the opportunity to truly see other as equals, while also embracing, appreciating, and honouring the vastly different yet essential qualities that both males and females bring to the table. Both masculine and feminine qualities need to be equally valued and necessary. Empowered women are here to support and strengthen the men, not compete and threaten them.
To calm the minds of those men who might feel threatened by the emerging empowered women, Sandra Sully has a great way of putting it:
“This is not a race where women are running against men. We are not competing. This is not a battle. We are not enemies. Gender equality benefits us all.” – Sandra Sully
“[Feminism] offers [men] an opportunity to be intimate allies with their female partners, to forge relationships based on more than duty and dependency. It gives men a chance to be loved for the wholeness of who we are, rather than solely for what we can provide.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
And given all of the above, I now feel sufficiently justified in taking a powerful stand for feminine leadership in everything I do, and first and foremost in my role as a Fempire Coach. Bring it on.
Gender isn’t something I’ve ever attached a lot of significance to because I believe that men and women are equally competent and necessary in the workplace.
I grew up as the middle child of three sisters, and we were fortunate to have a loving father who instilled in us an enduring belief that we could do or be whatever we wanted, as long as we put our mind to it. My father was convinced that women belong equally in the professional world and that eventually the number of women in leadership and management positions will equal those of men. And that conviction passed on to my sisters and me, for which I’m eternally grateful.
Due to this “can do” attitude instilled by my father, after high school I went on to study Science & Engineering – a field that typically has a low representation of females (only 15 – 30% of University degrees are earned by women worldwide in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths – ref 1). And then following that, during my 15-year engineering career it was just an accepted fact that I was always in the minority as a female engineer – only 12.4% of all engineers were female in Australia’s labour force in 2016 (ref 2). It never bothered me that I was often the only female in a boardroom meeting.
And despite always being in the minority, I never felt any prejudice against me whatsoever. If anything, I was often treated with a healthy respect by my male counterparts.
In terms of mentors, both formal and informal, it was only natural that most of my mentors were men, given the low numbers of women in leadership positions. In fact, all of my mentors were male up until my mid-thirties, when I finally came across a rarity – a female boss who had worked her way in the Engineering World to a senior management position. It was refreshing to say the least, not just because she had a bright and bubbly personality, but also because she was committed to growing her employees and was always encouraging us to take on greater roles and positions.
It’s now been eight years since I quit my engineering career to branch out on my own as a Career Coach. During that eight years, I’ve taken on many different mentors as I’ve tried to learn everything I need to know about becoming a successful entrepreneur. I’ve had both male and female mentors, and it’s definitely been easier to find female mentors in the world of entrepreneurship. Statistics show that a growing number of women are starting their own businesses. Today there are double the number of female entrepreneurs compared to 20 years ago, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ref 3).
And while it’s good news that the number of female entrepreneurs is on the rise, the bad news is that female entrepreneurs don’t seem to be as good at making money as male entrepreneurs. It’s hard to find a female mentor who is truly successful in the financial sense.
One Australian Bureau of Statistics report showed that women who operate unincorporated businesses have an average weekly cash income of $522, while for men it is $831. And the average weekly cash income for incorporated business owners was $998 for women and $1,451 for men (Ref 4).
That’s a huge disparity.
But What Does This All Mean in Terms Of Mentorship?
In reflecting back on the qualities of the different mentors I’ve experienced over the course of both my engineering career and my coaching career, I realise I’ve been fortunate. All of my mentors have always been understanding, caring, compassionate, and committed to helping me develop as an individual and a professional.
The best mentoring relationships I’ve had have been where there’s been a strong match between my values and the values of my mentor, where the mentor is already in a position that I aspire to be in, and also where my mentoring needs have matched what my mentor was able to provide. I’ve found men to be equally compassionate when it comes to balancing work and personal needs, and they’ve always certainly been committed to helping me find a way to meet my career and personal goals.
I don’t feel that gender has been a significant factor in the success of my mentoring relationships – however, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I definitely do find it more enjoyable to be mentored by a female. There’s no denying that I feel a greater sense of ease, comfort, and enjoyment when working with a female.
And it seems I’m not alone in this sentiment. Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard conducted extensive research into the role of gender in mentoring relationships across more than 1000 college students in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). One of her main conclusions was:
“Having a mentor of one’s own gender or race was felt to be important by many of the women… However, matching by gender did not appear to affect academic outcomes – even though students were more satisfied with their mentoring experience and believed race and/or gender matching to be important.”
Similar to my own experience, it appears that same-gender mentoring leads to a more enjoyable experience, but not necessarily better performance outcomes (ref 5).
However, aside from the comfort factor, there’s also another important factor that plays into my personal preference for female mentors.
And it’s all to do with…
The Invisible Barriers that Professional Females Face
Despite the fact that we might be treated equally at an individual level in the professional workplace, there are still a number of undeniable, invisible barriers that we face as women, including:
The “Glass Ceiling”. There is still an active, invisible barrier preventing women from reaching the top. Women hold under a quarter (24%) of senior roles across the world in 2018 (according to Catalyst’s Women in Management).
Less investment funding is provided to female entrepreneurs. Business Insider France’s Elisabeth Hu found that enterprises founded by women receive about $935,000 in investments on average, while those founded by men receive an average of about $2.1 million, even though women have a much better return on investment (for every dollar of funding, start-ups founded by women generate 78 cents, compared to 31 cents for start-ups founded by men! Ref 6). So despite the fact that women are safer bets when it comes to investing, there’s still an unspoken prejudice against them.
Women are particularly discriminated against in the high-paying STEM fields. According to an article by Cleverism called The Latest Stats on Women in Tech, there’s a huge gender gap between men and women. The median man in Silicon Valley earns 61% more than the median woman, and 63% of the time, men are given higher salary offers than women, despite being in the same job at the same company.
It’s simply not easy to make it to the top as a woman in the corporate world, or to establish yourself as a thriving, successful, and well-paid female entrepreneur in business.
Finding a successful female mentor feels like finding gold. A female who has managed to overcome all of the invisible barriers to ‘make it’ is a huge inspiration to other women.
And I believe this is the real underlying reason why I personally prefer female mentors. If they’ve managed to do it, then they can teach me to do it too.
The Power of Female-Female Mentorship
In 2018 I met the wonderful Marnie LeFevre – a highly successful international entrepreneur, author, speaker and marketer who founded the Secret Women’s Business Academy. Marnie is passionate about empowering women to establish themselves as successful entrepreneurs, because she knows intimately the struggles that women deal with when it comes to being successful in business. And she has a large following of women who want access to her rock-solid business wisdom.
I was honoured to join Marnie’s team in 2018 as one of her Business Academy Coaches. I now spend my days mentoring other women to start and run their own successful businesses. And part of the reason that Marnie’s Academy is so successful is that women really do love being mentored by other successful females.
As women, we know how hard it can be to forge your way as a successful professional woman or entrepreneur. And we crave to be guided by a woman who’s already managed to do what we aspire to do.
Over the past half-year I’ve enjoyed being personally mentored by Marnie herself. Being in her vortex has taught me so much about the nuts and bolts of what it takes to run a successful business, but perhaps more importantly, being around her has taught me about the mindset you require to truly make it in business.
Being around Marnie has instilled in me a sense of quiet confidence, a feeling of “If she can do it, I must be able to do it too.” And that, in my opinion, is what makes female-female mentorship so powerful.
What are your thoughts on the role of gender in mentoring relationships? What have been your experiences, both positive and negative? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below!
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Kate De Jong Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals Inspired Careers International Katiedejong.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at.
When I was nearing the end of high school, I was advised by Career Counsellors and many other well-intentioned people that I should pursue Science or Engineering as a profession because I was good at maths & science. But I was only ‘good at’ those subjects because I poured endless hours of study, sweat, and tears into them. I knew that maths & science were highly valued by my school and by my parents (my father was an Engineer), and being the chronic people-pleaser that I was back then, I slogged away to make sure I got good grades.
But no one ever asked me if I actually liked maths & science – I didn’t. I actually kind of dreaded them. And it didn’t seem to matter to anyone else that technical subjects didn’t come naturally to me. They felt hard and heavy. My brain was more wired for Literature, Languages, and Social Sciences. Those subjects felt natural, fun, and easy for me. But after being told countless times that I would never find a high-paying job in the Humanities, I decided I should follow the overwhelming advice to study Science & Engineering. So that’s what I did.
And then I spent the good part of fifteen years feeling miserable.
I poured everything I had into my career, but it never felt quite right. I would come home from work feeling exhausted and empty. It was deeply frustrating that I never felt completely fulfilled by my work. I felt lost and confused, continuously searching for ways to make my career feel better, but no amount of tweaking of my career gave me the satisfaction I was craving. I started developing chronic illnesses that wouldn’t go away and I was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue, which I struggled with for many years.
And then one day I hit burn out, and I couldn’t go on anymore. I knew I had to step away from my career as a professional Engineer altogether.
I now know that your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at. And the only way to feel completely fulfilled and satisfied in your work is to find and operate in your own unique Zone of Genius.
And it’s all because I consciously chose to operate in my Zone of Genius.
So how do you operate in your Zone of Genius?
Marcus Buckingham has done great work in the fields of Strengths Analysis. In his book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, he defines four signs of a true strength, which happen to follow the acronym of S-I-G-N.
Here are the Four Signs of a True Strength.
S is for SUCCESS
A strength is an area in which you achieve success or a high level of proficiency with relative ease. And you’re able to sustain great performance over time. And they’re also the areas in which you’ll improve the most as your train and practice your craft.
I is for INSTINCT
Your strengths have an “I-can’t-help-but” quality to them. Maybe you can’t quite articulate why, but you find yourself drawn to particular activities repeatedly. For example, even though I was studying science and engineering at University, I always loved going into New Age bookstores to read anything and everything I could about spirituality, philosophy and personal growth. I did Reiki courses in my spare time and I was constantly drawn to anything that discussed psychology, finding your purpose, and metaphysics. It wasn’t until much later that I could see how all of these seemingly (at the time) unrelated topics formed the basis for my love of Coaching. What are some of the things you find yourself being drawn to repeatedly? Where does your instinct lead you?
G is for GROWTH
Buckingham discusses how, from a neurological perspective, ‘intelligence’ in a certain area develops through the creation of thick branches of ‘synaptic connections’ in your brain. Neuroscientists have now established that a strength is an area where your brain made large connections very naturally and easily; larger than other areas.
Nature has a habit of piggy-backing on existing infrastructure, meaning that you’ll grow the most new ‘synaptic connections’ (i.e. brain capacity or ability) in those areas where you already have the most existing ones. You will learn the most, come up with the most new ideas and have the best insights in areas where you already have a natural affinity.
Since you can’t peer inside your brain to see where these thick branches of brain connections already exist and what they relate to, you have to look for the signs yourself. What does a thick branch of synaptic connections feel like? According to Buckingham, it feel like this:
“It feels easy. It feels like you’re not trying very hard. It feels like an activity that, for some reason, proved quite simple for you to pick up. You learned it quickly and you find it easy to concentrate on it. You naturally stay focused on it and it feels like time speeds up, and you still stay focused and time speeds up some more. You have to remind yourself to look up at the clock, and when you do, whole hours have flown by while you’ve been completely absorbed in the activity and really enjoying it. It feels like interest, and more, it feels like inquisitiveness. It’s an activity you want to practice, to read up on, to refine with new tricks and techniques, to grow. It feels like true happiness.” – Marcus Buckingham
It’s not that these activities are without effort. There is almost certainly effort. But it feels, seemingly, effortless. You feel challenged, but in just the way you like to be challenged. You actually want to concentrate. And when you do, you lose your regular perspective and you become immersed. You become lost in the activity for a long moment.
The final sign of a strength stands for needs. Whereas the Instinct sign refers to how you feel before you engage in the activity, and the Growth sign relates to your feelings during the activity, the Needs sign points to how you feel right after you’ve done it. Some activities just seem to fill in an innate need of yours. When you’re done with them, you may feel physically tired. But you don’t feel psychologically drained. Instead, you feel fulfilled, empowered, restored, the exact opposite of drained. It’s a satisfying feeling, but it’s also much more than mere satisfaction. It feels authentic. It feels right.
Here’s a summary of Buckingham’s SIGN acronym for true strengths:
When you do it, you feel effective, proficient, competent: The S (Success) of SIGN.
You actively look forward to doing it: The I (Instinct) of SIGN.
You feel inquisitive, focused and satisfied while doing it: The G (Growth) of SIGN.
You feel fulfilled and authentic after completing it: The N (Needs) of SIGN.
I hope this insight has helped you look at your strengths differently. It’s so important to know what your strengths are. If you can begin to build your awareness of the activities that contain these four qualities for you, you can more consciously align your job or career around your true strengths. And as a consequence, you’ll enjoy more flow, satisfaction, and fulfillment in your day-to-day work. And this is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
There’s a path that’s perfect for you… let me help you find it.
– Kate De Jong
It’s been many years since I left my corporate career and took the leap of faith to follow my heart.
When I finally realised that I not only wanted, but needed, to quit my career, there were no career coaches or mentors I knew who could guide me through the process of transition. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I only knew that continuing on my current path was no longer an option. Fumbling along on my own, my transition was filled with more doubt, fear, and uncertainty than was necessary. And this is why I’m now so dedicated to being a guide for you, to help you avoid the struggle I went through, and to help you transition into a life you love with ease, grace and, most of all – joy.
Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally?
Are you walking your true path?
What is your ‘true path’? I define it like this.
Your ‘true path’ is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.
Do you long to feel more fulfilment and joy in your professional life? Do you wish you could wake up each morning excited to jump out of bed and start your day because you absolutely love what you do? Do you wish that your work could energise, uplift, and nourish you? Does all of that sound wonderful, but also like an impossible dream? If so, I’m here to tell you that it might be closer within your reach than it seems, and I’m here to guide you there.
I know how painful it feels to wake up each morning with a sense of dread, knowing that you have a busy day ahead with so many meetings to attend, deadlines to meet and different balls to juggle. And that despite how ‘busy’ and full your days are, you still won’t be able to escape that nagging feeling of emptiness inside.
If you’re tired of the struggle and you yearn for something different, it’s time.
Your feelings of frustration and emptiness are a signal that you’ve wandered off your true path. Prolonged struggle and frustration are not noble, admirable or necessary. If you’d tried to tell me that seven years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d grown up hearing constant messages like “Success takes hard work, grit, and determination” and “Nothing worth having comes easy”. I had seen my parents work incredibly hard to build their lives and I believed I would have to do the same.
But here’s what I now know: Yes, of course you will have to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams, but if it feels like hard work, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. When you follow your heart and do what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, it won’t feel like hard work. It feels easy, joyful and fun. But you’ll find that you’ll want to work hard, because you love what you do.
There’s no ‘struggle’ on your true path, just committed and inspired action that feels good!
Take some time to tune into how you feel about your work right now. Do you look forward to getting stuck into your work each day? Or do you feel a certain level of anxiety about it? Does your work inspire and uplift you? Or does it bore you or tax you too heavily? Does it feel light, easy and joyful? Or does it feel constricting and heavy? Does your work fill you with a sense of purpose and meaning? Or is it something you do to pay the bills? You’ll know if you’re on your ‘true path’ or not – and if you’re not, what I’m about to tell you will help you find it.
How to Find and Walk Your True Path
“Sometimes your hear a voice through the door calling you… This turning toward what you deeply love saves you” – Rumi
Step 1: Turn and Face the Longing
The first thing you need to do in the quest to find your true path is turn and face the longing. This is hard for many of us; I know it was for me. I felt scared that if I surrendered to my deepest desires, I’d be completely overtaken by them. I had responsibilities and obligations after all. I had bills and a mortgage to pay, savings and superannuation plans to build, and a rising cost of living to cover. Over the years, the ‘Golden Handcuffs’ had kept my straying heart at bay, with financial benefits and bonuses rewarded to me in exchange for my loyalty to the company. How could I possibly give that up to follow my heart’s wild impulses?
As Oprah says in her book O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose “Concerns about money and status long ago extinguished most people’s ability to think authentically about their career options.” I’d been so caught up in my perceived obligations and expectations from others that I’d learned to suppress my heart’s desires at all cost.
In my ‘Moment of Clarity’ I’d finally realised that my constant effort to suppress my authentic desires was the cause of all my feelings of emptiness and depletion.
It took an enormous amount of courage to walk away from all the financial security into the fire of risk and uncertainty, to surrender to those deep desires.
But I haven’t regretted it for a second. The feelings of freedom and satisfaction I now feel are indescribable. With the right guidance and support and a pragmatic risk management plan in place, you can navigate the process of career transition with grace and ease and set yourself up financially relatively quickly. When you do what you love, the money will flow. I have seen this happen too many times with my clients to think otherwise.
If you hear your heart whispering but feel too afraid of the risks involved, I urge you to ask yourself this question:
What is the cost to you of not following your heart?
How is your current career direction impacting your health, your happiness, your relationships, your family life, your freedom, your ability to have fun and enjoy life, and your sanity? Try to imagine how you will feel at the end of your life about the decisions you’ve made. In Bronnie Ware’s famous blog article Regrets of the Dying she describes the number one top regret of her elderly patients as:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.
You have a choice. You can choose to commit to following your heart and doing whatever it takes to be true to yourself. Or you can live with the whispers in your heart for the rest of the days and wonder what it would have been like if you’d had the courage to follow them. Which one do you choose?
Don’t be afraid. Turn and face the longing.
If you truly wish to live a life that is fulfilling, joyful, rewarding, deeply satisfying and abundant, you must start to listen to the whispers. Your desires contain the seeds of your calling. Yes, your path will be challenging at times like every path in life, but the rewards will be greater than anything you could ever imagine. You’ll feel profound levels of joy, freedom, prosperity and satisfaction when you make the decision to find and walk your true path, full out.
Step 2: Start the Process of Figuring Out What You Really Want to Do.
So, what do you really want to do? That’s the million dollar question! And it’s not one we’re easily able to answer. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably heard the whispers in your heart and you know you can’t ignore them any longer. And yet you don’t have enough clarity to know what those whispers mean and how they could possibly translate into a new career direction. It’s very difficult to decipher the whispers and yearnings to know what you really want. As the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow once said:
It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement. – Abraham Maslow
So don’t be discouraged if you feel lost and confused; it’s completely normal.
I know how difficult it can be to feel the longing for a more joyful and fulfilling professional life, and at the same time to have no idea how to make sense of the longings to create a new career direction that really is the right direction.
The last thing you want to do is give up your current career and financial security to follow a brilliant idea you have, only to find out that your new direction doesn’t leave you feeling truly happy and fulfilled either.
So before you take the leap of faith to forge a new career path, take the time to do some deep self-reflection to uncover the four elements that are critical to finding your true path.
Your True Path or Purpose: Where your natural ability meets your true nature, your passion, and your ability to meet a societal need (profit).
You’ll know when you’ve found your purpose: You’ll find unlimited creative energy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, devotion and a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
Finding your professional purpose feels like coming home.
It connects you to something fundamental to your sense of identity, purpose, and well-being. Living in this zone provides a sense of self-revelation, of defining and expressing who you really are and you finally know – without a shadow of a doubt – that this is what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing with your life. There’s a feeling of devotion and obsession, almost. Many people who finally find their unique calling describe it as an ‘epiphany’.
Step 3: Clarity Comes Through Consistent, Inspired Action.
If you’re waiting to find out exactly what your calling is before you start to take action, you might end up waiting forever. You’ll only discover what you’re ‘meant’ to do by getting out there and trying different things. You might have lots of wonderful ideas, but it’s not until you actually engage in them that you discover whether they really are the foundation of your true calling. When experimenting with different ideas, be sure to pay close attention to what lifts your energy and excites you and to keep moving in that direction. If you try something and realise it’s not what you thought it would be, that’s OK and completely normal. Try to view the whole exercise of finding your calling as one of trial and error, adventure and discovery.
There is no failure, only feedback.
All feedback is useful and helpful. But don’t quit your job and pin all your hopes on a big idea you have before you’ve had a chance to test it out. The big question I often get asked is “When is the right time to quit my job?” This will depend entirely on your unique situation and the answer is different for everyone. If you’re happy (enough) where you are to try different ideas while still holding down your full-time job, that is the best option. Try to provide yourself with as much financial stability as you can while experimenting so that you don’t have the stress of finances while trying to find your way. If you want to break free and go it alone, figure out how much money you’ll need to cover your cost of living for at least six months and make sure you can cover it before you throw yourself into the new venture.
It takes time to build momentum and get traction.
Inform yourself as much as you can about your idea or new career direction. Read up on everything you can and better still, talk to people who are already working in the fields you’re interested in. You’ll find that most people are happy to let you buy them a coffee in exchange for some insight into what their job is like and what a typical day looks like. Dave Evans and Bill Burnett call these Life Design Interviews, where you interview people with the intent to find out more information about different vocations. A wonderful by-product of these conversations is a valuable network and connections in fields you’re interested in.
Don’t jump into a new venture without first informing yourself fully. Research, investigate and talk to as many people as is humanly possible.
Step 4: Leap!
As scary as it sounds, at some stage you will have to take the leap of faith and dedicate all your time and resources to your new career direction. This feels incredibly scary, I know. Something I’ve discovered since quitting my corporate career in 2011 to build my own thriving coaching practice is this:
Fear and excitement are in constant tension on your true path.
You’ll be called to do things you haven’t done before. You’ll have to jump without knowing whether you’ll land on safe ground. And you must be prepared to feel the fear and do it anyway. In Jenny Blake’s wonderful book Pivot she reminds us “Do not expect courage to rain down from the sky before you make a move. It comes from taking action. Courage will not arrive in full [beforehand]; it will appear afterward, when the confidence from making a life-changing decision settles in… The more courageous action you take connected with your vision and values, the more confident you will feel along the way.”
Step 5: Get the Right Guidance and Support on Your Journey
Finally, remember that you can’t do it alone. We all need guidance, advice, support, cheer leading and mentoring from those who have walked before us. I’ve been so fortunate to have the help and support of many mentors throughout my journey who each provided a valuable piece of the puzzle. It’s thanks to their wisdom and guidance that I’ve managed to build my thriving coaching practice that allows me to do what I love and love what I do while helping countless men and women to find their true path and live the life of their dreams. If you feel stuck and need help, I’m here for you! Please do get the guidance you need. I know how frustrating it is to feel lost and stuck, and it’s not necessary!
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to help you navigate through the fear, doubt and uncertainty into your ‘zone of magic’ where your clarity, confidence, and abundance reside.
Being a working mother requires an almost supernatural ability to keep dozens of balls in the air simultaneously.
And if you’re a Mother who’s chosen to grow your own business while simultaneously raising children, you’ve taken on the ultimate challenge. Many of us choose to become an entrepreneur because we’re passionate about our business vision and we want to have the flexibility and freedom to fit in around our children and their needs. But the harsh reality is that juggling business building with motherhood is hard – and there are a few truths you need to be aware of if you want to be successful in both.
Here are 5 truths to live by as a Mother and Entrepreneur.
1. If You’re Not Obsessed with Growing Your Business, Step Away Now.
As mothers, we carry the entire mental load of the household – costumes for school assembly, dentist appointments, food shopping, school lunches, after-school activities, and the list goes on. And growing a business can be all-consuming too. Squeezing the demands of a business into our already-overcrowded mother-minds is no small feat. And just like a child, if your business doesn’t get the time and attention it needs to grow and flourish, it will simply wither away and die.
2. Figure Out What You Will and Will Not Sacrifice
To succeed in business while being a mother, you’re going to have to make your business an equal top priority. Which means you have to sacrifice certain things. Despite what some idealists declare, the reality is that we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every school event, or always tuck our children in at bedtime, or have a perfectly tidy home while simultaneously growing a business.
Get yourself really clear on what you absolutely will not sacrifice. Are you willing to give up your marathon training? Your spot on the Parents & Teachers Board? Or being there at school pick-up every afternoon?
So you’re giving your children a gift when you choose to prioritise your business equally as high as your children.
3. Stop Making Excuses and Ask Instead “What Do I Have to Do to Make This Happen?”
During my time as a Business Coach for women, I’ve heard all the excuses – “I didn’t get time because I had to take my son to the doctor”, or “I couldn’t attend the workshop because I had the kids”. I can absolutely relate because I’m a mother too and I know how hard it is with the usual plus unexpected demands on our time. But if you’re serious about succeeding in business, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to grow your business, and then make it non-negotiable.
What are the core activities that will win you new clients and allow you to serve more effectively? And what do you need to do to make it happen? Do you need to get a regular babysitter you can call on? Do you need a live-in nanny for a while? Does your partner need to take care of Wednesday or Friday pick-ups? What do you need to do to achieve your business goals? Stop making excuses and make them happen.
4. Invest in Yourself and Your Business In Order To Grow
Be willing to invest in yourself to develop the skills and competencies you need to be a successful business owner. And be willing to invest in your business to set up the right systems and structures, grow your brand awareness, win clients, and serve them effectively. For every ‘expense’ that comes along, ask yourself “What’s the Return on Investment?” If it’s going to win you new clients or help you to deliver an improved service, it’s not an expense but an investment. It’s the chicken and egg thing. But the reality of business building is that you need the chicken before it will grow an egg.
Combining business with motherhood is hard and not everyone ‘gets’ it. Find a tribe of like-minded women who encourage and support you to keep going when the going gets tough, and who understand you and what you’re going through. It takes time to build a company from scratch. And it ‘takes a village’ too. So find your tribe and get the support you need.
It’s our mission at Fempire to provide a powerful tribe to support mothers and women in business. None of us can do it alone. If you haven’t found your tribe of inspired, ambitious, and heart-centered women yet, please come and join us here!
Keep your chin up, keep going, and know that you’re doing an amazing job.
Those of you who run your own business know how critical it is to be able to articulate clearly who you are, what you do, for whom, and why. And yet it also happens to be one of the most difficult things to do.
When I first felt the call to step out of the corporate world and into the entrepreneurial world, I was full of ideas and excitement. Finally I was going to be able to unleash my own unique genius in the way that I wanted and I was going to do things on my terms, in my own way. I had a vague idea of how I wanted to serve others through my business, and I thought that would be enough to get started.
But it wasn’t.
I struggled to find the right words to explain what I do in my branding and marketing material in a way that would captivate and magnetize people. Despite the passion I felt in my own heart, I wasn’t able to convey that passion to others in a way that made sense to them.
And then the dreaded question at social gatherings – “What do you do for a living?”
I always dreaded that question because no matter how hard I tried, I struggled to spit out a powerful, succinct answer. And my business was suffering as a result. I failed to consistently attract the right people who needed what I uniquely had to offer.
ArtMark is a group program designed to help you “Captivate Customers and Community with an Irresistible Brand Message and Story.” The program helps you get crystal clear on your unique brand promise, identity, and services – and perhaps most importantly – who you are here specifically to serve.
Jeffrey’s philosophy and approach are built around the idea that inner clarity about your business comes from a deep awareness and appreciation of your own unique personality, gifts, and strengths.
The program begins with a deep dive into understanding your unique personality, and how you specifically captivate and elevate people. One of the tools used is Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage Personality Test, which helps you discover the Primary and Secondary Archetypes that best describe your unique personality – and more importantly, how to leverage them fully to captivate your audience.
The program then leads you through a deep process of self-reflection and self-discovery to uncover:
Who your competitors are and how they present their unique brand message and story so that you can understand where you fit into the already existing market;
‘Your Signature Elixir’ – the unique services that you offer that solve a particular problem that people have.
Developing your Captivating Story to magnetize your people.
Your ‘Gallery of Experiences’ that will serve your people in the most effective way (often referred to as Business Funnel – as a side note, Jeffrey has developed a refreshing vocabulary to describe common marketing terms in a way that feels much more authentic, customer-focused, and service-oriented.)
Your Visibility Strategy.
The beauty of the program is that it helps you distill large amounts of information and self-analysis into succinct sentences that capture who you are and what you do. The ability to clearly describe yourself, your mission, and your vision, are truly empowering.
Here are some of the sentences that emerged on my ArtMark journey, which have allowed me to overhaul my branding and marketing strategy and materials in order to attract the people I am here to specifically serve.
My Anthem (My Fascinate Unique Advantage)
I guide people to freedom and joy by reconnecting them to their hearts and true potential.
In a world where we’re so often pressured to be something that we’re not, I guide and empower heart-centered professionals to find and walk their true path so they can make a difference doing work they love.
Helping Heart-Centered Changemakers Find and Walk Their True Path.
The biggest revelation in the whole ArtMark experience for me personally was discovering the words to describe my ‘niche’. I’d struggled for so long to clearly articulate this part, which meant that I sometimes attracted clients who were a great fit to work with me – and sometimes not. I could never quite understand what the missing piece was in being able to consistently attract the right people.
There have always been a couple of threads running through my unique ‘purpose’.
I empower people to reconnect with their authentic voice and to live their truth proudly and impactfully.
I help people who feel unfulfilled in their career to find the path that allows them to express themselves and their unique gifts fully.
Until ArtMark I was missing the one critical thread that makes my purpose complete:
3. I help heart-centered changemakers make the impact they desire.
These were the words I finally uncovered thanks to Jeffrey’s powerful process:
My hat goes off to Jeffrey and his team for their ability to help passionate and budding entrepreneurs like myself and my fellow ArtMark colleagues find the clarity and insight we desperately need in order to thrive in business and make our unique impact on the world.
Doing It Together
Jeffrey’s operating motto is always “Doing it together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”. To honour some of the great work being done by my ArtMark colleagues, here are some beautiful branding examples that are the result of this year’s ArtMark experience.
Do you often find yourself procrastinating, instead of getting important things done?
If so, you’re not alone. In a survey I sent out recently to find out more about my clients’ challenges and struggles, ‘procrastination’ came in as one of the top responses when I asked the question “What do you feel is the biggest obstacle holding you back from making breakthroughs in the areas you desire?”
‘Fear’ was the number one response (which will be the subject of a follow-up article that I’m currently procrastinating over), followed closely by ‘Procrastination’.
I felt compelled to write about procrastination because I know it’s a big challenge for many business owners. And I struggle with it too.
There are certain important things I know I ‘should’ be doing in order to grow my business or to keep on top of things at home, and I often find it really hard to just get on and do them. And it got me wondering – Why? And what can I do about it? Because it frustrates me when I catch myself doing it and I’m aware that it’s a form of self-sabotage.
I was heartened to find out that I’m only a ‘mild procrastinator’ when I did the Mind Tools ‘Are You A Procrastinator?’ test. But I was told “You need to understand better why you procrastinate – there are several reasons for it, and more than one may apply to you. And you need to learn the steps you can take to stop doing it.”
Exactly. So what exactly are those reasons and what can I do about them?
Firstly, it was nice to know that procrastination is not the same as laziness.
“Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. In contrast, laziness suggests apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier.”
I find that a great description. I know I’m not lazy because I’m very willing to act. But I definitely have been known to ignore the unpleasant, but more important tasks, in favour of ones that are more enjoyable or easier.
To overcome this pattern of behaviour, Mind Tools suggests that the first thing we need to do is:
Recognise That You’re Procrastinating.
As with everything in life, the first step in being able to ‘fix’ something is to notice that you’re actually doing it. Find out where you are on the procrastination scale – Are you a true procrastinator, a mild procrastinator, or not a procrastinator at all (congratulations – lucky you!)?
And once you know where you fit on the scale, you can start to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to change it. There are many reasons for why you might procrastinate. Here’s a list of the most common ones.
6 Reasons You’re Procrastinating and What You Can Do About Them
1. You’re Not Organised Enough.
As a business owner, it’s up to you to enforce structure in your day. It was different back in my old corporate career when there were certain non-negotiable obligations like routine meetings, deadlines, or admin tasks that had to be done. But when you work for yourself, that’s much more fluid. If you don’t feel like doing something, you don’t have to do it.
But the guilt and shame that you feel as a consequence of not doing what you know you have to do can be detrimental and (as you know) can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and inertia, which can be very hard to pull yourself out of.
This is why it’s so essential to get organised. You need to create a schedule that forces you to do certain things on certain days, and then make them non-negotiable. For example, commit to getting your email newsletters out every Friday at 2 PM. Or schedule three hours every Tuesday morning to prepare your social media posts for the next 2 weeks. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me get on top of things in my own business. Suddenly I don’t have time to procrastinate anymore!
My favourite tool for getting organised in my business is Trello. It’s been a game-changer for me and my business. I highly recommend using Trello to create structure and discipline in your business.
Consistency, routine, and effective prioritising of your tasks are essential in overcoming procrastination.
Accountability can help you get things done too. Ask someone to check up on you and regularly remind you of what you promised you would do. Get coaching, or join a Mastermind group. Accountability is why coaching relationships are so effective. Coaches help you understand what’s important for you and they hold you accountable to the things you say you’re going to do. And we all need that! As a business coach myself, I still need my own coach to help me stay accountable and on-track.
2. Poor Decision-Making and Lack of Clear Priorities.
Have you ever had those days when there’s so much to do that you just get started on something, and then you end up drifting through the day being super ‘busy’, but at the end of the day you ask yourself “What did I actually do today?”
That’s a day without clear and focused priorities (and is slightly different from not being organised). If you can’t decide what to do, you just end up jumping on the first thing that feels good and suddenly you’ve spent six hours doing things that really are not a high priority and you know it.
The best question I’ve learned to ask at the start of each day is Gary Keller’s famous question that he describes in his #1 bestselling book The One Thing which is this:
What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
I recently put together a video explaining The One Thing and how you can apply it (you can watch the video here). Asking that question has been a true game-changer for me and when I get stuck, this is the question I turn to. I highly recommend trying it out.
3. It’s Boring.
This is an obvious one and possibly the most common. I’m constantly putting certain tasks off because, frankly, they’re boring. Why pay the outstanding invoices or get on top of your admin when you could do the fun website changes you’ve been wanting to do or make pretty social media images?
The best technique that’s helped me make myself do those boring tasks that need doing is this:
Focus on how good it’s going to feel when you’ve finally done those boring tasks and you can tick them off your to-do list. Keep tuning into the feeling of relief and satisfaction you will feel and use it to get you through the task.
Another thing you can do is promise yourself a reward. If you complete a boring but necessary task on time, reward yourself with a treat; maybe a slice of cake and coffee from your favourite coffee shop. Or if it’s a really big, important task, reward yourself with a massage or anything else that feels like an absolute treat – because you deserve it.
4. You’re Worried About Failing.
This type of procrastination is simply ‘fear’ disguised as procrastination. And the only way to overcome this one is to schedule the time to do the scary thing that needs to be done and push through the fear. As the famous saying goes “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
All the things I’ve been really scared of doing (live videos, leading group calls etc) only became less scary when I finally plucked up enough courage to just do them. And through doing them they became much less scary and even enjoyable.
The more you do something you fear, the more comfortable and enjoyable it becomes.
There’s a certain adrenaline boost that you get when you overcome your fears that can become addictive with time, to the point where you actually really start getting hooked on doing the thing you once feared.
5. You’re Being a Perfectionist.
Perfectionists are often the best procrastinators. You’re so dedicated to getting something perfectly ‘right’ before you put it out there that you become paralysed with inaction. This was once a big trap of mine, and the only thing that helped me work through this was repeatedly saying the mantra:
Imperfect Action Beats Perfect Inaction.
If this sounds like you, print out this statement in big letters (make it pretty if you have to) and hang it above your desk somewhere where you can see it all the time. And make the commitment to yourself to choose imperfect action above perfect inaction at all times. Watch how this simple mantra changes your life!
6. You’re Worried About Succeeding.
You might even be worried about doing something really well because it means that you’ll suddenly be swamped with requests from other people and you’ll get overwhelmed.
Maybe you don’t want to be known as someone who gets things done because you’ll end up being their go-to person. In that case, you may just need to be up-front and set some clear boundaries with people. Let them know what you’re willing to do but let them know you have limited time because you have your own tasks to get on with. This may require having some uncomfortable conversations but the effects will be liberating.
As Marianne Williamson has said often:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Maybe you’re scared of how your life will change if you actually become successful, and so you keep yourself small so that you don’t have to get uncomfortable? If so, recognise that you’re doing that, and then try to shift your focus to all the positive things that will result from succeeding, for you and others.
I hope this list has given you some insight and helpful strategies to overcome your procrastination patterns. The top one for me remains staying organised in order to overcome my procrastination demons and something I’m working to improve each and every day.
And be sure not to beat up on yourself. Don’t let yourself get dragged into the spiral of shame and guilt that procrastination can draw you into. Be gentle with yourself and congratulate yourself for always doing your best and for actively seeking ways to improve. That in itself is worthy of a little celebrating.
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.
Do you feel resistance when it comes to setting goals?
I know I have in the past. The whole process can feel too masculine, pushy, or ‘corporate’.
I do, however, believe that the act of tuning into your heart to listen to what wants to be expressed or created through you is essential to creating a life you love. Without some form of heart-centered intention or goal, you can drift aimlessly in a sea of possibility without having anything secure to anchor yourself onto.
Research (like this) has shown that you feel happiest when you having something to work towards that allows you to really stretch, unleash your full creativity and potential, and contribute to something you care about.
A clear, heart-centered goal acts as an internal compass to guide your daily decisions towards your ‘true north’, allowing you to more intentionally create a life you love.
What do I mean by your ‘true north’?
I mean the genuine, authentic desires of your heart and soul. And heart-centered goals are the means by which you align yourself with your true north.
An essential component of setting heart-centered goals is the act of first tuning into how you want to feel. I give full credit to Danielle LaPorte and her Core Desired Feelings concept that has been a major force in shaping how I now approach goal-setting. Danielle was one of the first people to make me aware of how we have our traditional goal-setting processes backward. Traditionally, we focus on an end goal without taking the time to figure out how we actually want to feel, which often leaves us feeling empty and discontent when we actually reach the goal, because it didn’t actually make us feel how we wanted.
A heart-centered goal lights you up just thinking about it. The thought of reaching it uplifts, inspires and motivates you.
Heart-centered goals lead to ‘inspired action’; tasks and actions that feel exciting and joyful. If you’re feeling the need to set some powerful, heart-centered goals for the year ahead that will actually get you to where you want to be, I recommend you use the following process. This may take some time, but I promise you it’s worth it.
How to Create Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work in 6 Steps
Step 1: Acknowledge & celebrate everything you did and experienced in the previous year, or the year so far.
Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything we do do, and instead focus on what we think is still missing. The simple act of documenting, acknowledging, and celebrating everything you did in the previous year lights the fires of passion, purpose, and creativity for the year ahead. Gratitude and appreciation for all the goodness that manifested in your life provides an inspiring and exciting platform from which to springboard into your dreaming and goal setting. The easiest way to do this step is to write it all down, making sure you document:
What you DID;
How you GREW;
What you LEARNED;
Which new CONNECTIONS or networks you established;
And any other highlights of the year that feel significant.
Make sure you find a way to celebrate and give gratitude for all the goodness that manifested in your life. If it feels right for you, close your eyes and spend some time in quiet gratitude. Perhaps light a candle. Practicing gratitude stimulates all the wonderful high-frequency emotions that are necessary for getting into an effective frame of mind for goal setting (including appreciation, joy, optimism, hope, grace, ease etc).
Step 2: Tune into the vision and mission you have for your life.
To effectively map out exciting and magnetic goals it’s important that you first tune into a vision of your future that makes you feel really excited when you think about it, as well as your purpose. There is a subtle but very important distinction between your vision and your purpose. They’re very closely linked, but you can think of it this way:
“If your vision is the map, your mission (or purpose) is your inner compass.”
– Jeffrey Davis, Tracking Wonder
Your vision is the final destination you desire to arrive at. You need a map to show you where you are now and where you want to end up (your vision). Then you need a compass (your mission) to help you continuously point yourself in the right direction, in order to reach your final destination. Your vision summarises the qualities of the life you would like to live, while your purpose defines the details of how you serve others through your work.
Your purpose statement should contain a summary of WHO you want to serve, HOW you help your people, and WHAT the result will be from your actions. To help you get the idea and to stimulate your own reflective juices flow, here is my current vision and purpose (these tend to evolve as I grow and evolve):
What is your vision for your future? This might be something you’re very clear about. Or maybe it’s something that’s still a bit murky for you.
To develop your own vision, try to think about what your ideal, dream life would look like in 5 – 10 years time. What would you be doing? What kind of person will you be? What are the qualities of the life you desire to experience? What is the end destination that excites and uplifts you? And how would you define your personal purpose?
Step 3: Get clear on how you want to feel in the year ahead.
I believe this is the critical missing piece in all of our goal-setting processes. Failing to take the time to do this step might set you up to achieve goals that don’t necessarily make you happy or satisfied or fulfilled. To tune into how you want to feel, take some time to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Place your attention into your heart space if you can. Take a few deep breaths and really feel into the energy in your heart centre. As you try to keep your focus there, ask yourself:
“How do I want to feel this year?”
Write down whichever words come up for you. My words for this year are:
Step 4: Engage in divergent thinking to dream big and imagine quantum leaps for your life!
If you want to set exciting, uplifting goals, it’s CRITICAL that you undergo some form of DIVERGENT THINKING before you narrow yourself down and choose goals that you want to shoot for in the year ahead.
We use divergent thinking to CREATE CHOICES, and then we use convergent thinking to MAKE CHOICES.
An important part of the divergent thinking process is allowing yourself to DREAM BIG and to expect ‘quantum leaps’ in your life. In the video below, I describe how Price Pritchett defines Quantum Leaps in his book You2 – A High-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps. I highly recommend reading his book if you want to learn more about his approach, which integrates quantum physics principles into personal effectiveness tools.
Don’t you think it’s a pretty amazing thing that the only thing limiting us in life is our imagination? That we can literally do anything we want if our heart and soul want it badly enough? We get to literally dream up the life we want to live. As Price Pritchett says in his book You2:
“Seeking the quantum leap means violating the boundary of the probable. It means achieving well beyond the obvious. So don’t limit your desires to what you think you ‘can have’ …. start going after what you ‘want’. This means you must give yourself permission to dream, to risk. You must set yourself free.” – Price Pritchett
Once you get clear and excited about what you ‘want’, you can create it through harnessing the proven physical laws of our Universe, including The Law of Attraction. To learn more about this, check out my articles:
Now that you understand what Quantum Leaps are, here’s how you can align your quantum leaps with your core desired feelings that you uncovered in Step 3.
How to do ‘divergent thinking’ that opens your mind to the possibility of ‘quantum leaps’.
Task 1: In your journal or notebook, write down all the words you chose as your CORE DESIRED FEELINGS for the year ahead on the left-hand side.
Task 2: Next to each desired feeling, make two columns. In the first column, try to brainstorm some ‘normal’ goals, i.e. what Price Pritchett would refer to as your 10% incremental goals. This is how we usually approach the goal-setting process, setting goals that we believe are within are ‘achievable’ range. In the next column, brainstorm some possible Quantum Leap goals, i.e. things that require you to stretch your imagination and dream bigger than normal. What would be REALLY AMAZING if you could achieve it next year? This is where you get to play with your imagination and dream up some really BIG and EXCITING goals!
Step 5: Choose the goals you want to focus on in the year ahead.
Now that you’ve been through a process of divergent thinking, now it’s time to ‘converge’ and choose which goals you want to aim for in the year ahead. When doing this, remember that ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’. Choosing a few quality goals that are closely aligned with your desired feelings and desired quantum leaps will position you to live a wonderful year. Be sure to check each goal with these questions:
Will this goal help me feel the way I want to feel?
Is this goal aligned with my authentic heart’s desires?
It’s also important not to focus on a single outcome (e.g. Publish my book), but rather to set goals that define the various milestones you’ll need to reach in order to reach that outcome (for example: Finalise the book structure, secure book agent, submit first draft etc). This is called ‘chunking down’ the goals into tangible milestones that you can work towards. This is where you get the chance to be specific and set realistic, yet challenging milestones and targets.
To be effective, your goals need to feel like a stretch (but not too much of a stretch that it feels overwhelming), and they need to feel exciting!
This allows you to take ‘inspired action’ that feels good.
Step 6: Get your goals and milestones into your diary and put them somewhere where you can see them!
To make your goals real, you’ll need to schedule them into your Yearly Planner so that you can work towards them. Put them somewhere where you can see them and be reminded of them consistently.
Lastly, have a think about some support structures you can put in place to make sure you regularly check in with your goals and modify them if needed if they’re not aligning with your desired feelings. What support structures can you put in place? A vision board? Hanging your goals up somewhere where you can see them? Telling your partner so they can remind you? Telling a friend and asking them to check in with you? Joining a group that will actively support you in pursuing your goals?
Once you decide on the goals, the actions and the support structures you’ll put in place to achieve your goals, you’re on your way!
I sincerely hope this article helps you set yourself up for a wonderful year and I wish you so much success and magic in creating the life you love.
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Those of us who choose to be a small business owner are in some way required to step into leadership, even if we’re not explicitly aware of it.
When I quit my corporate career of almost fifteen years as a Consulting Engineer in 2011, it wasn’t because I wanted to become a leader. I’d taken on various leadership roles throughout my career and enjoyed the opportunity to lead, support and inspire others. But I quit my corporate career because I wanted to experience more joy in my work, more creativity, more authentic self-expression, and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to be more impactful and to serve others more effectively.
As time has gone on, it’s dawned on me that in order to fulfil my dream of creating positive change through my business, I need to consciously and proactively step into leadership; which is not something I was prepared for, at least initially.
As I grow and evolve my ‘craft’ with time and experience, I’m realising that if I want to thrive as a business and as my own personal brand I must:
Step out of the shadows and claim my position as a leader;
Have a clear vision that inspires and resonates with people;
Be able to communicate that vision and why it’s important;
Know how to serve my people with services and products that help move them towards that vision.
Like all of us, I’ve had the opportunity to observe some great leaders over the course of my life, and some not-so-good examples of leadership. The great leaders are, of course, the ones we all aspire to be. And if we want to create positive change in the world as business owners, we need to be great leaders.
To me, the single most defining quality of a ‘great leader’ is their genuine passion and devotion to serving their people.
It’s often easy to tell who is in the game of leadership to further their own egotistical pursuits (power, status, influence or control) as opposed to those who are in it to make a difference. In his book Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win (2015), Fred Kiehl describes the results of seven years of a landmark study of more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 of their employee’s observations of their leaders. He showed that leaders of ‘strong character’ achieved up to five times the Return of Assets (ROA) for their organizations than leaders of ‘weak character’.
Kiehl defined four qualities that leaders of ‘strong character’ show:
As I reflected on those qualities, it took me back to some of the moments in my life when I’ve personally experienced leaders of ‘strong character’ and the profound effect they had on me, including:
The boss who came past each morning and asked my team members and I individually how we were going. Not in a superficial chit-chat kind of way, but in a genuine “How are you and is there anything you need to do your best work today?” kind of way.
The senior colleague who believed in me and empowered me to step up, break out of my comfort zone and achieve more than I thought was possible.
The manager who took it upon himself to undertake hard negotiation with company executives on our behalf to significantly improve our salaries and workplace conditions.
The manager who took responsibility for a ‘big mistake’ on behalf of our team, worked with us to brainstorm solutions and empowered us to collaboratively get things back on track; no blame, just compassion, forgiveness, and empowerment to move ahead.
The manager who very compassionately told me to go home to rest and take care of myself when I wanted to keep working through a personal crisis.
The leader on Twitter who says she’s working on a particular issue of national concern and would like to hear everyone’s input and feedback in her comments section. She then reads all of them and acts upon them, responding to all the concerns raised.
As small business owners, it’s even more critical that we continuously display qualities of strong character because our strength of character is our business; it’s our personal brand.
And since Kiehl has shown an astounding 5-times increase in financial performance in businesses with ‘leaders of strong character’, strong leadership is critical to deciding whether our business will thrive or fizzle out. So to all you small business owners out there who want to step up your leadership game and more consciously and proactively choose to be a leader of ‘strong character’, here are my 7 tips on how to do it:
Have a clear and inspiring vision of the future that serves as your inner compass and the compass for your business – #vision.
Embody the morals, principles and values of your vision – ‘walk the talk’ – #integrity.
Demonstrate your genuine passion for your vision and for serving your people – #service #passion #devotion.
Genuinely care about the people you’re serving and leading. Connect with them. Request regular feedback, listen to the feedback and act upon it – #listen #Compassion.
Believe in your people and inspire them to be better, do more and reach higher – #empower #believe #inspire.
Be transparent and vulnerable when you need to be. Admit your mistakes. It’s OK to be ‘imperfect’ and still lead your people. Genuine vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness and your people will respect you even more for it – #responsibility #forgiveness
Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to others. Failure is success when we learn from it – #failureisfeedback.
What are some of the commitments you can make to yourself to uphold greater levels of ‘character’ and become a truly inspiring leader in your role as a business owner?
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.
Building a business is hard work. It takes grit, perseverance, determination, and persistence. It’s most definitely not for the faint-hearted.
And building your own business confronts you with all of your insecurities, fears, and doubts about yourself, raising questions like:
Who am I to do this work?
Why would anyone choose to work with me when my competitors are younger, smarter, and further along?
How will I ever make enough money?
What have I got to offer?
That little inner voice is debilitating and completely takes the wind out of your sails.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
So many female entrepreneurs struggle with these fears, doubts and insecurities. We see it all the time with our clients. And I’ve been through it myself so many times too (trust me, I know what you’re going through!).
Fear, doubt and insecurity are a natural part of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Those little voices come from that primitive part of your brain that’s designed to keep you ‘safe’. They don’t want you to step outside of the hut because you might get eaten by a mammoth. When you’re building your business you have to put yourself out there in a big way and open yourself up to judgement, criticism, and unsolicited feedback.
It’s scary and very uncomfortable!
Not to mention all the doubts you have about our own capabilities and competence.
It can be hard to pull yourself out of those situations where you spiral into self-doubt and fear. And there are days when you just want to give up on the dream. I know, I have them too, those days where I ask myself:
Wouldn’t it be easier to just go back and get a job?
I’ve learned over the years that there’s unfortunately no shortcut to establishing a thriving, profitable business.
Some days it feels like you’re putting your work out into a vacuum. Those are the days when it’s hard to get motivated. It’s hard being in business for yourself, being the sole person responsible for generating revenue, particularly in the early days when your revenue is dependent on your time and input. I’ve read all the promises of the 4-hour work week and ‘passive income’ and while they sound great, those are things that take time to build, and that advice is unhelpful when you’re in startup mode (which lasts for 1-3 years!). If you’re not familiar with the 6 stages of business growth, check out my article here.
If you ever get into one of those downward spirals of despair and negativity, here are some tips on how to pull yourself back up and out of it. These are some of the things that help me on a regular basis when I get into a funk.
1. Remember why you started your business.
When you’re in this state of mind, it’s important to reconnect with your personal and business ‘why’.
What is it that made you start your business in the first place?
What’s the important contribution that you want to make through your work?
Who’s going to miss out on receiving the benefits of your work if you decide to succumb to fear and insecurity and not show up?
If you’re not clear on your business ‘why’ yet, check out Simon Sinek’s video How Great Leaders Inspire Action and answer this sentence for yourself: “Because I believe….”
2. Get out a piece of paper and write down all the things that make you awesome.
I’m serious, you need to do this exercise if you’re feeling fearful and doubtful. Get out a pen and paper and write down your answers to these questions:
What have you achieved, overcome, and created in this lifetime?
What are your unique strengths and talents?
What qualifications have you achieved, or awards have you won, or things have you accomplished over your life and career?
What do your best friends say about you? What would they say if you were gone?
Remember and reconnect to all the positive things about yourself. So often we get focused on what’s ‘not there’ and forget to remember everything that ‘is already there’.
Remind yourself of just how awesome you are and believe it in your bones! Because it’s true.
3. Re-read some of the positive feedback from your clients and appreciate the areas where you have traction in your business.
Go back and read or simply remember some of the positive things people have said about your work and the impact you’ve made on them. Find a way to remember that your work matters and that people need and appreciate what you have to offer.
4. Focus on what you love about working for yourself.
Take some time to remember the reasons you decided to work for yourself. Write them down. For example, I remember how much I love the complete freedom and flexibility of my schedule and my pure freedom of creative self-expression. I love the ability I have to work from home, to be there for my kids, and to focus my time on what I want, when I want.
What is it that you love about working for yourself?
5. Force yourself to step away from the desk and take a break.
Any action you take while in a negative frame of mind is not going to be productive or inspired. It’s important to get yourself back into a good frame of mind before attempting to do anything at all. Do whatever it takes to re-centre and re-align yourself.
Perhaps you could get outside into the garden, or go for a walk, or do something uplifting, comforting and nourishing for yourself.
7. Don’t give up. You just may be on the verge of making a breakthrough!
No matter how bad your day is feeling, don’t give up. You might be just about to make a touchdown. Keep your thoughts and energy focused on the vision you hold and how good it feels to be living your dream, on your own terms. If you need help staying tuned in to positive energy and the flow of abundance, take a look at my article How to Create More of What You Want Using the Law of Attraction – Part 1.
And if all else fails, take a day off, go and do something you love and tomorrow is another day. But most importantly, hang in there. The world needs your precious gifts!
Are you doing all the right things when it comes to growing your business?
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A trusted asset who takes away your frustrations by completing the tasks you don’t want to do, letting you focus on what you love.
It can be so hard when you’re starting your own business, or running a ‘side hustle’ alongside your main job, or even trying to stay up to date in the rapidly changing online world. For Gen-X people like me (born 1963 – 1980) or older, it’s particularly challenging since we haven’t grown up with the Internet, Social Media and the Online Business World like the younger generations have.
Proficient ‘digital literacy’ isn’t part of our basic, native skill set, unless we’ve been educated and worked specifically in the IT fields. When I see how easily my 6- and 3-year-old boys navigate an iPad or computer, or how easily a ‘Millennial’ navigates their way through the online world, I realise how much things have changed since I was growing up and how much we’ve had to learn and adapt to stay afloat.
There have been so many technological breakthroughs during our short lifetimes
… from the emergence of home computers, to fax machines, to E-mail … from ‘floppy discs’ to recordable CDs to USB memory sticks … from record players to tape cassettes (and ‘Walkmans’), to CDs and then to MP3 players … from Analog TV with four channels to cable-TV with 100+ channels … from basic old Radio to ‘online streaming’ … from videocassettes to DVDs and eventually Netflix-like systems. It’s been one continuous stream of technology upgrades that requires constant adaptation to stay ‘up with it’.
The very first Apple Mac computer that we had in our home in the ’80s. We felt very modern and ahead of the times!
Still, I was proud that I always adapted well to all the technology changes. I embraced social media in 2007 and was doing fine in my previous career as a Consulting Engineer, mastering all the software and technology systems we used to do our work efficiently.
I thought I was doing pretty well at keeping up with the times…. Until I started my own business.
And then I realised oh how very little I actually knew about anything in the online digital world. Of course one of the first things I had to do was develop my own website, which meant finding a domain provider, a web host, choose a website builder, develop a logo and brand colour scheme, choose an email marketing host (which one?!), build an email list, understand digital marketing, develop digital products for my marketing, make sure my website was SEO-friendly (what’s that?!), choose business management software. People were recommending all kinds of different platforms/scheduling tools/business ‘must-haves’.
To say my head was swimming in this sea of endless information would be an understatement. There were times when I just felt like curling up into a ball and retreating back into my old corporate career where none of this stuff was necessary.
I’m usually pretty good at figuring stuff out. But at some stage, I had to admit that I was well and truly LOST. There were two things that helped me navigate through all the noise and FINALLY find my way in this seemingly impossible world of digital information:
1. A great business coach.
2. My Virtual Assistant (VA).
My business coach helped me “see the wood for the trees”, helping me figure out what was important at that stage in my business and to choose systems and strategies that would work for me. We developed a business strategy for my small coaching business. This gave me an enormous boost of clarity and was a big help in moving forward (if you’re stuck, I really highly recommend working with a good business coach).
My business coach often suggested that I start employing a “V.A.” to help me out with all the tasks that were needed to set up and keep things running. When she first said “V.A.” I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. And when she explained what it meant, I resisted the idea enormously. I was just starting out and hardly making any money, so how could I afford to pay someone to work for me?
But it’s the chicken and egg thing.
Do you continue spending your time doing things that are well outside of your own ‘zone of genius’, or do you hire someone who’s incredibly savvy in the online world to do these things for you in the blink of an eye? Do you first need to make money before you can pay someone to help you? Or do you need someone to help you before you can start earning money? It’s been my experience that it’s the latter.
A Virtual Assistant is someone who is right on top of everything in the online world. They’ve either been trained or educated in the world of web development, software and/or digital marketing, or they’ve worked in these fields their whole career and so it’s second nature to them. So things that feel hard and clunky for many of us feel very easy and light for them. Their genius is website development, social media engagement, digital marketing and more … all the things that are clearly NOT my genius.
And hiring a VA is not as overwhelming or daunting as it might seem.
You can initially hire someone for just a couple of hours a month to help you with the most basic tasks you need covering. And as your business grows, you can increase those hours as you need. But it’s certainly been my experience that they can at the very least help you GET THE BALL ROLLING, and once it’s rolling, they can help you keep it rolling smoothly (as possible).
So what kind of tasks can a Virtual Assistant do for you?
Here are some examples of what they can do for you:
Website changes, web page development, sales pages, website analytics to measure your site’s performance;
Set up your online payments or accounting/invoicing systems;
SEO-optimisation for your website;
Social media graphics, social media scheduling, social media analytics to measure how you’re performing;
Email community newsletters, Email broadcasts for particular promotions;
Blog broadcasting and distribution;
Manage your Email inbox,
Set up your Client scheduling system, manage your schedule … and more.
Anything you need to have done in the online world, they can do for you.
The biggest challenge I find is in having the courage and foresight to DELEGATE. This has never been a strength of mine, but I’m working on it and it feels so good and so efficient when I manage to do it well.
What have been the BIG POSITIVES I’ve found in working with a Virtual Assistant?
I learn so much from my V.A. As I work with her I’m learning so much about all the different aspects of online business and my own knowledge and proficiency are increasing exponentially. Just one example is that she taught me everything I need to know about SEO (a concept I ignored for the longest time because I had no clue what it was). It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s just a little bit critical to running a business. Thanks to my V.A., if you now search for keywords related to my business, you’ll actually find me. I hadn’t appreciated how important that is. If people are looking for a service you offer, they need to be able to find you!
She allows me to focus on the core elements of my business – i.e. the coaching, writing, and content development – rather than wasting my time doing things that I’m terrible at.
She figures out ways to do things that I am just completely stuck with. She saves me time and energy and handles the online things with way more elegance and finesse than I would ever be able to.
She has helped me professionalize my online presence and as a result, I feel more professional and can deliver services that are more professional.
It can take some time to find a good VA.
It took me some trial and error to find the fantastic V.A. I now work with. I tried a couple of girls in the USA because the whole concept of V.A. is much more widely accepted and implemented over there (relative to Australia where the concept is still emerging). But due to the time zone differences and currency exchange (with the US dollar being significantly stronger than our Australian dollar), it was ineffective and expensive for me.
You may need to try a few different people before you find the right one for you. Sometimes you’ll have a very different working style to your V.A., which can become an obstacle to a good working relationship. But when you find someone who you work well with, hold onto them because they’re worth their weight in gold!
With my wonderful V.A’s permission I’m going to share her details with you (very begrudgingly because I don’t actually want to share her with anyone – lol). But she does have some spare capacity at the moment and would be able to help you out if I’ve managed to convince you that you need one!
Her name is Alex Hammett at Lemon and Lime Business Solutions. I couldn’t recommend her more highly so please do reach out to Alex if you need some virtual assistance.
I really hope this insight has helped you and if you’ve been unaware that you can hire a V.A., or if you’ve been sitting on the fence about getting one – please do go ahead and find one as soon as possible. You won’t regret it!
Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.
With his prediction that purpose was the next major economic era, many are racing to find answers and direction toward finding their personal, professional, and organisational purpose. – Aaron Hurst
We’re on the cusp of the emerging Purpose Economy in which ‘purpose’ is the new driving force.
Your personal and professional purpose – or BIG WHY – acts like your internal compass that keeps you finding ways to serve and thrive financially, no matter how much instability and upheaval is going on around you.
Only businesses with a strong, positive purpose will survive in this new era.
It’s not often that a book comes along that feels like a real game-changer, but that’s exactly how Aaron Hurst’s book THE PURPOSE ECONOMY (Oct, 2016) felt for me recently. His book felt like a welcome confirmation and validation of everything I’ve been observing and witnessing over the past several years, and his ability to clearly articulate what I’ve been sensing for a long time felt so significant that I wanted to share it with you.
You might have seen this happening around you too: People are increasingly craving more MEANING in their work. More and more people want to contribute something positive through their work.
And with this new Corona virus situation in 2020, this is being brought home even more loudly.
It’s clear we can’t go back to the way we were before where society was ‘asleep at the wheel’, blindly harming our natural systems that support and sustain us. And being ego-driven, instead of taking care of the collective.
It’s no longer enough to simply go to work to pay the bills, or to view work as a means to an end. We spend such a large percentage of our waking lives working that more and more people are realising they need these three things in the workplace:
1. Engaging work that’s meaningful. We want to feel as though our work MATTERS.
3. Connection: To each other, and connection to our sense of purpose.
In his book, Hurst describes how as a human species we’ve evolved through various different economies in the past few thousand years and how this evolution has created the era of PURPOSE that we’re experiencing now. I’ve summarised the evolution of these different economies briefly below.
The Agrarian Economy
Starting out as hunter-gatherers for many thousands of years, we eventually learned how to farm and cultivate the land in ways that allowed us to produce more stable sources of food and to stop moving around. An economy began to develop, centered around our agricultural interests. As the farms grew, so did the first villages and towns. This also marked the beginning of land ownership, social classes and specialised trade. Wealth and freedom were tied to owning the land and the ability to optimise its output.
The Industrial Economy
With the invention of the first commercial steam engine in Britain in 1712, a new wave of industrial innovation was born and the new Industrial Economy emerged in which wealth was tied to the large-scale production of goods and services and value was placed on increasing efficiency. Many industries needed more and more specialised labour and saw education expand to develop the talent needed. As people moved from farms to factories, vocational services were introduced. Modern democracy merged. International trade boomed, connecting cultures around the world. All of this came at enormous cost to the natural world, with widespread pollution and the mass extinction of countless species.
The Information Economy
By the middle of the 20th century, the marketplace was dominated by large corporations and institutions. The bigger the organisations became, the greater their need for improved communication and information systems. In the Information Economy, the commodity of value was information and the ability to develop it and transmit it quickly and efficiently. We’ve been fully immersed in the Information Economy for at least the past 30 years. And we’re now standing on the rising tide of the Purpose Economy.
The Purpose Economy
What is the Purpose Economy?
As Hurst says: “The Purpose Economy describes the new context and set of ways in which people and organisations are focused on creating value and defines the principle for innovation and growth; the quest for people to find more purpose in their lives.
It’s an economy in which value lies in establishing purpose for employees and customers.
The emergence of purpose as the new organising principle of our economy is a product of our current moment in time, based on where we stand in history: our current culture, values, education, technological abilities, social organisations, political realities, and the state of our natural environment.”
These are the global forces shaping the emerging Purpose Economy:
Our increasingly interconnected global community. The Internet has allowed people all across the globe to connect, communicate, and collaborate, independent of our physical location. As a result, we’re collectively more aware of global issues and how our actions impact the world around us.
Our evolution upwards in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Many people around the globe have reached a level of personal fulfillment and now desire to transcend our own needs to prioritise the needs of all society and future generations, seeking more connection and self-actualisation.
Longevity. The average lifespan in 1796 was 24 years old. Just 100 years later, the same person could live to be 48. And now 100 years later that average has almost doubled again. And given the aging population, we won’t be able to retire at 60 and live off our savings and pension anymore. We’ll be required to work until we’re much older, which means we need to find something that feels purposeful and that we ENJOY doing, or life will get very tedious!
Changing families and evolving roles. Both parents in most families now work, and we’re hiring people in record numbers for the jobs highest in purpose – caring for our kids and aging parents. We want to know that our carers feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their work too, since we’re trusting them with our precious people. AND since we’re giving up our precious time with our families to work, we want to know that our work MEANS something and has an impact.
Environmental, economic and political turmoil has created great instability, upheaval, and uncertainty worldwide. The pace of change in our lives is ever-accelerating as large institutions and organisations restructure, collapse or merge in order to stay relevant and survive. People are seeing this upheaval and turmoil and desire to do something to help.
A rising desire by many to have a positive impact on the world somehow.
All of these factors have caused major changes globally that were magnified by the ‘Great Recession’ in 2008. The global instability has drastically changed the fabric of today’s professional workforce. We no longer have a single employer for our entire career and the average tenure in a company has dropped steeply, with the average employee staying at a single job fora mere 4.5 years today. As Hurst says:
“We’re all becoming de facto freelancers, on our own and navigating great uncertainty in every direction. The global shift has placed meaning and purpose at the heart of the contemporary workforce. Purpose, rather than career longevity, now provides the stability we need.”
In the new Purpose Economy, win-win solutions are the new commodity of value. People increasingly respect companies that provide a product or service that creates a positive net benefit or outcome for other people, nature, and the economy. There is no longer any respect or room for exploitation or selfish aggrandisement.
If your business doesn’t create positive value to all stakeholders, it won’t survive. There’s a rising need and requirement for businesses to lead the way and show how to not only create a win-win solution but to thrive because of it.
Here’s why I’m personally so passionate about ‘purpose’:
I quit my corporate career of fifteen years in 2011 to start my own business in a completely new field (career coaching), because no matter how many changes I made or roles I took on in my previous career as an environmental engineer, I just couldn’t find or sustain a real sense of fulfilment, satisfaction or JOY in my work.
My health and relationships suffered terribly as a result. I felt completely lost and off-track. It wasn’t until I made the decision to quit my career to follow something more aligned with my strengths and passion that my health started improving and my life started feeling better and better.
Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to understand why some of us seem to easily find a professional path that we love, while some of us really struggle with it.
Through talking to people, coaching many clients and doing in-depth research on the topic of career satisfaction, it seems that there’s one thing that separates someone who really loves their work from someone who feels just “meh” about their work, and that is:
A clearly defined sense of purpose.
Once I was finally able to clearly define and claim my own purpose, everything fell into place and my life took on a whole new level of meaning and fulfilment, both personally and professionally.
Over the years I’ve pondered the topic of ‘purpose’ extensively and developed my own definition for it. It reads like this:
Your purpose is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.
Do you fantasise about quitting the rat race to start your dream business?
Are you tempted by all the #laptoplifestyle posts flooding social media platforms?
Thanks to high-speed internet and cloud-based systems, it’s easier than ever before to work from anywhere you like. Culturally, we’re getting tired of the rat race and more and more people are craving more flexibility, freedom, purpose, and creativity in their work.
I quit my corporate engineering consulting career back in 2011 and I have to say I haven’t missed it at all. I now get to create my work days on my own terms, and I fit my work life around my busy life as a mother to two young boys.
Freelancers now make up 35% of the American and Australian workforces, and these numbers steadily are on the rise.
The percentage of freelancers is even higher among the younger workforce. A survey conducted by Upwork and published in The Herald Sun showed that in Australia, “Among workers aged 18 – 24 years old, 47% are freelancing either part-time or full-time, versus 28% of Baby Boomers”. Having grown up in the digital world, it’s natural that young people in the modern era are more flexible, agile, networked, and connected – the perfect ingredients for entrepreneurship and freelancing.
It’s interesting to note also that the majority of older people who chose to start their own business did not do so out of necessity, but by choice (57% of the total), with flexibility, freedom, and improved work-life balance “luring them from the rigid confines of the 38-hour work week.”
I know that when I was growing up, freelancing seemed incredibly risky to me; the responsibility for generating your own income throughout all economic cycles seemed like a far bigger risk than I was willing to take. However, independent workforce surveys such as the UpWork survey in the USA show that freelancers are now, in fact, earning more relative to their old jobs. Among respondents in the UpWork survey, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck in their former job. A total of 46% were able to successfully raise their rates in the past year.
53% of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer. Times are changing indeed.
But if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to finally answer that little voice that’s nudging you to quit your day job to pursue something closer to your heart, I understand from personal experience how hard it is to make that decision. Deciding to leave a stable career path and a reliable salary for an unknown outcome, no matter how exciting or appealing the idea, is absolutely not an easy decision to make to. And it’s not one that I made lightly myself. It wasn’t until I started suffering from severe chronic health issues that I was finally forced to change direction (you can read my full story here).
And even when all the signs were pointing to the fact that I needed to branch out on my own, it was still an absolutely terrifying thought; I had a lot of fear and insecurity to overcome before I was able to consider the idea of becoming a ‘business owner’ seriously.
But taking the leap of faith to start my own business was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, for the reasons I’m about to share with you. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy.
Starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted. It requires enormous amounts of resilience, grit, perseverance, and most of all, belief in yourself.
But the rewards more than outweigh the sweat and tears you put in.
There are days when it all feels too hard and I want to give up on my dream (as I write about in my article Those Days When I Want to Give Up On My Dream – And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them). But they’re happening less frequently as I establish more reliable structures, systems, and approaches that allow me to earn a more reliable and predictable income. Establishing yourself successfully in your own business won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. As long as you approach it with a practical, low-risk strategy and get advice from those who have gone before you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Here are 5 big reasons why you should break free and start your own business.
1. You’ll Enjoy Greater Freedom and Flexibility
If you’re tired of the groundhog days of alarm clocks, rushing and commuting, then you’ll love being your own boss. No more forcing yourself into the office early in the morning no matter how late you stayed up the night before, or the complete lack of free time to do the things that sustain and nourish you. As your own boss, you can work according to your own schedule and work with the natural rhythms of your body clock and creative impulses. I love that I can now take time off when I need to and catch up on my work in the evening if I have to. Freedom and flexibility have become especially important to me since becoming a mother to our two young children.
Yes, you’ll need to have robust self-discipline and sufficient structure in your days to force you to be productive and be able to enjoy the traction and momentum you need in your business. But when you’re doing something you love, it’s not hard to find the motivation to get onto your work.
It’s been my experience that structure and routine are your best allies as a small business owner. The good part is, you get to decide on the business structure and routine that suits you.
2. You Can Do Things on Your Own Terms
If you’re someone who finds it hard to be micro-managed or to follow someone else’s ideas (especially if you don’t agree with them), then you’ll love being your own boss. In the great article “Why entrepreneurs choose freedom over money”, they conclude:
“Despite the fact that people who work for themselves often work more, have fewer benefits and experience more on-the-job stress than those who work in a company, the majority of Americans would prefer to be entrepreneurs. Our research shows that entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their jobs – and happier in general. Workplace autonomy is a powerful motivator.”
3. You’ll Experience More Fun and Pleasure in Your Work
I really needed to pinch myself the first time I received money for my coaching services; it seemed such a gift to be paid for something I found so enjoyable and enriching. Doing something you love really is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Plus, entrepreneurs are a fun bunch of people! It continues to amaze and inspire me to see how much entrepreneurs seem to enjoy their work. One of my favourite mentors Jeanna Gabellini always says:
“If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!” – Jeanna Gabellini
A central part of Jeanna’s work and message is teaching people how to harness the Law of Attraction in their business to attract more profits and abundance, and having fun is an essential part! This was something that took me a long time to get used to. I was used to having to work hard and to ‘struggle’ at work; I’d come to accept that work is a necessary evil to pay the bills and to get ahead in the world. It feels so great to now to actually have fun in my work each and every day. To learn more about the Law of Attraction, check out my blog article: How to Create More of What You Want Using the Law of Attraction.
4. You Get to Fully Express Your Unique Gifts and Talents
You have your own unique zone of ‘natural genius’ – the things that you’re naturally good at without even trying. During my corporate career, I think I was operating in my own zone of natural genius only about 20% of the time. The rest of the time I was doing things that weren’t aligned with my natural strengths and didn’t feel joyful.
I know that every career includes tasks and activities that we like and many task and activities that we don’t like. But when you’re working in a way that allows you to fully express the gifts you do have, somehow the other parts don’t feel so onerous or annoying – they’re in service to the beautiful thing you’re creating through your business. Are you working in your Zone of Genius? Find out in my article: How to Live & Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good at.
5. You Get to See the Direct Results of Your Efforts and Enjoy Making a Positive Difference
Do you often wonder whether your daily work is having any impact? In my former career I spent countless hours writing Business Cases, proposals and strategic plans that were often shelved, delayed due to lack of funding, or often dismissed because it was “not the way we’ve always done things”. And while I was part of some important breakthroughs during my career, I wanted to spend less time justifying and defending my ideas and more time just getting on and doing them.
When you work for yourself, you can pitch your idea and philosophy clearly and those who resonate with your vision – and need exactly what you’re offering – can respond. And then you can get on with the task of serving those people directly and effectively. I believe the more people who embrace their yearning to make a difference and put themselves out there to start serving in their own unique way, the faster we’ll see things improve in the world.
Are you ready to leave your day job to start your own business?
If you’re at the point of wondering whether you should leave your career behind to pursue something closer to your heart, Helena Klein suggests asking yourself these questions:
Do you have to justify your job to yourself and others? Do you find yourself saying your work is actually ‘not that bad’, when in reality you know there must be a more joyful and fulfilling way to spend your working days?
Is your work giving you energy or draining you of it? Is there at least one part of your work that you look forward to each day? If there’s no part of your work that truly excites you, it’s time to make some changes.
Is there anybody I work with whose life I would like to have? If you don’t see any positive role models at work to look up to and who have the kind of life you want, then why are you there? There is no use in working your way up to a job that you don’t want to have.
Do you feel inspired by your work? Are you able to think freely, out of the box? Or do you feel trapped and patronized? If you spend too much time completing other people’s tasks, ignoring your own thoughts, or withholding your talent from the world, then it’s time to think seriously about change.
Last but not least: is my work in line with my personal values? If the things you’re doing at work don’t feel good to you, this is a big warning sign. You should feel proud of what you do and feel good about yourself when you do it.
“If you want to venture out on your own, pursue a call to greatness and live a meaningful life on your own terms, do it. Do not wait for permission. Do not wait for acceptance or validation. Do.Not.Wait, my friend. Because time is the one thing that you cannot buy back with all the gold and power in the world.”
Do you want to break free but you’re not quite sure how to go about setting up your own business? Get yourself a FREE copy of THE ULTIMATE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK and learn everything I wish I knew when I decided to start my own business back in 2011!
Are you still trying trying to figure out what you’re meant to be doing with your professional life? This FREE E-Book will help you: PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose.Learn how to build a career that unites your true nature, your passion and your natural genius into work that is a full expression of yourself, allowing you to get your unique and valuable gifts into the world in a way that is FUN and deeply fulfilling!
Job hunting can be one of the most soul-destroying, confidence-zapping processes to go through.
If you’re currently without work or stuck in a job you hate, then I’m sure you know how depressing the whole job-hunting process can feel. You troll the internet for job vacancies, then try to mold your cover letter to express a (perhaps inauthentic) desire for the job and then wait seemingly forever for a confirmation email or response that sometimes never comes. The trouble in this situation is that you give all your power over to a process that you have absolutely no control over, and get yourself into a downward spiral of low self-confidence and negativity pretty quickly.
Only one in five jobs are actually posted in job search engines or anywhere on the internet. This means that four out of five jobs are not advertised – anywhere. No wonder so many people feel frustrated and rejected when job seeking.
If only one in five jobs are advertised, where are the other four out of five jobs? Evans & Burnett call it the ‘Hidden Job Market’, which they describe as “the job market that’s only open to people who are already connected into the web of professional relationships in which that job resides. This is an insider’s game, and it’s almost impossible to get inside that web as a job seeker.”
So how do you become one of the ‘insiders’ when you’re on the outside? Accessing the hidden job market all comes down to one thing – networking. In a recent LinkedIn study, it was shown that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking . ‘Networking’ is a word that makes some people cringe while conjuring up images of making small talk with potentially helpful strangers or approaching people cold turkey with a business card. But it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be that way. The whole process of networking to access the hidden job market can be turned into a very pleasant and enjoyable – and extremely productive – process, through a technique that Evans & Burnett describe as ‘Life Design Interviews’.
In the Life Design Process, you first figure out what your dream career path would be – don’t settle for anything less.
Figuring out your dream career can be a challenging task in itself and it’s important that you first take the time to get clear on what that might look like. If you need help with this, be sure to get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose.
Once you’re clear on what you want, you then invite someone who is already connected into your desired field to have a conversation with you about what it’s like to work in that field or job.
You approach the conversation with a mindset of curiosity and interest and with the intention to find out whether this kind of work really is something you desire yourself.
People are generally very happy to be interviewed to talk about themselves and their work, especially when they know that the intention is to seek information, not to request or apply for a job. Evans & Burnett state that you must approach the conversation “as a sincerely interested inquirer – someone looking just for the story (not looking for the job). That’s how this works.”
There’s something magical that happens when you move from a place of desperation and neediness into a place of open-minded curiosity and non-attachment.
There’s a shift in your energy and you open up the conversation to an authentic connection and conversation, as opposed to an attempt to coerce the other person into giving you something you need. People are very good at picking up on ‘needy’ energy and it’s repelling. Curiosity, on the other hand, is inviting and appealing.
There are two great outcomes of this approach:
1) You find out first-hand whether this profession really is what you think it might be and whether it’s something you really do want to commit your time, effort and resources to, and;
2) You establish a connection with an insider in that field. You are networking in a completely organic and non-forced manner, bringing you closer to accessing the hidden job market.
The more people you interview, the more information and insight you learn and the more connections you make. Evans & Burnett describe how one of their clients, Kurt, started off as a job-seeker. He submitted thirty-eight job applications, along with his impressive resume and thirty-eight individual crafted cover letters. Out of all his applications, he received terse rejection emails from eight companies and never heard back from the other thirty. “No interviews, no offers, no follow-up calls.” Needless to say, he became disheartened and dejected. After learning of the Life Design Interview process, Kurt then identified people he could talk to and went out and conducted 56 life design interviews in different companies and organisations related to his dream field. During that process, he established a wide web of authentic connections and in the end, was offered seven wonderful job offers and had to spend significant time considering which one was the best fit for him.
He turned his situation of desperation into one of being connected and in-demand. This is how the Life Design Process works.
To get unstuck in your current career crisis, it’s crucial that you shift yourself out of a powerless, dependent-on-others mindset into an empowered, proactive and non-attached mindset. This shift in itself will create several positive benefits you hadn’t anticipated. Take back your power and rather than wait for the next best thing to come along, get busy deciding what you want and figuring out how to create it. Burnett & Evans describe five Life Design Principles that are essential to accompany your Life Design Interviews.
Life Design Principles
1. Be Curious
There is something interesting about everything. Endless curiosity is key to a well-designed life. Which fields interest you and what would you like to know about them? Which kinds of people could you talk to to find out more information? What do experts in this field argue about and why? What are the key issues people in this field deal with? What are the problems/issues/challenges that keep these people up at night and are these issues you are passionate about too? “Endless curiosity equals increasing knowledge, options and clarity about your life direction.”
2. Try Stuff
When you shift into a mode of bias-toward-action you stop being stuck. There is no more analysing, worrying, pondering, or solving your way through life. Evans & Burnett talk regularly about “building your way” into your dream job. Keep figuring out the next action to take and do it. Who can you talk to next? What is something you could do to find out more about a certain field? What can you read or learn to find out more about a particular idea you have? Are there any courses or self-study modules you could follow to learn more and upskill yourself?
3. Reframe Problems
Reframing is a change in perspective, viewing something from a different angle and changing the meaning around it. For example, a dysfunctional belief could be “I’m too old and it’s too late to find my dream job”. A reframe would be “It’s never too late to design a life you love and I have the power to create anything I desire.”
Ask yourself “What perspective do I actually have in this situation?” and if there is a way to change it for your own benefit and empowerment. We have the power to reframe any situation and substitute a limiting belief with a resourceful one. We get to choose and design our own life.
4. Know That It’s a Process
Knowing that building your dream career is a process means you don’t get frustrated or lost and don’t ever give up.
5. Ask For Help
We’re not meant to walk this path alone. Our success depends on building networks of support and collaboration. Find yourself a mentor (or several) and join groups or networks of like-minded people with similar aspirations. Facebook Groups is an amazing resource for people looking to link in with groups of people on a similar path. As Jeffrey Davis always says “Doing it Together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”.
So get yourself unstuck by brainstorming who you could conduct some Life Design Interviews with and get out there and start actively and intentionally building the career you desire. You are in charge of your life and your destiny and only you have the power to build the life you want.
And good luck dear friend, please let me know how you go in the comments below!
Katie De Jong, Ph.D Fempire Coach email@example.com www.katiedejong.com
Have you experienced first-hand how the magic of the Law of Attraction can work in your business and life?
In 2015 I completed a great course for entrepreneurs and business owners called ‘Profit Quest’ by Jeanna Gabellini at Masterpeace Coaching. This was my first introduction into applying Law of Attraction principles into my business.
Her tagline that drew me into the course was:
“Double your profits, double your fun!”
When I first saw her promotions I thought “Wow, that’s a big call.” Can I really double my profits and double my fun in my small coaching business by the end of her course?
I enrolled in her course to find out and lo and behold – it appears her system really works.
It’s powerful and yet it’s so simple. And it’s based on the Law of Attraction.
Do you remember the big ‘hoo-ha’ surrounding the movie “The Secret” when it came out all those years ago? The movie was all about the Law of Attraction. I really liked the message in the movie, but at the time I thought it was also a bit simplistic and materialistic, telling people they could have whatever house or car they desire if they could just imagine having it.
But I’ve since realized that there’s much more to the Law of Attraction.
The Law of Attraction teaches you how to be a co-creator in your own life – to align yourself with a vision you love and then allow it to unfold.
The Law of Attraction is basically this: Like attracts like. So within, so without.
When you imagine having, being or doing something you care about deeply, something that feels joyful and exciting, you create an energetic ‘blueprint’ for what you desire. When you step back and surrender, and (importantly) believethat you can and will have the thing you desire, then quite miraculously, what you desire starts turning up in your life somehow. Not always straight away (although sometimes it does!); but the steps to reach it will start appearing. You’ll start getting intuitive insights into what you need to do. Suddenly you’ll meet the right person, or you’ll find the perfect resource to help you take the next steps.
The key is to let your imagination run wild and to feel into what you would really, really like to manifest in your life. And here is the catch – most of us are so trained into thinking a certain way; we have so many beliefs about what we think we can and can’t have. And when we focus on what we would really love to create in our life, we come up against all the internal, negative programming that tells us we can’t have that.
We’re not trained to dream big.
In fact, most of us have been taught to keep our dreams small.
One of the tasks we had to do early in the Profit Quest course was to define exactly how much money we would love to make by the end of the year, if everything in our business suddenly started aligning and flowing. This was quite difficult to do. At first my head took over and I wrote down a number that I thought I ould realisticallyachieve.
That number, however, is not a number that got me excited or inspired. We were asked to write down the dollar amount that would make us feel super excited – not a number too far out of our league that it feels impossible and overwhelming (hence leading to disappointment and fear of failure), but a number that feels like abigstretch, but also feels energizing and exciting.
So I wrote down a number that felt super exciting.
At the time I wrote it down, I didn’t actually believethat I could make that much money, but I thought it would be cool if I did!
When you allow yourself to think big like that, all of a sudden things start showing up that align with that vision. Since adopting this technique, I’ve experienced major positive growth in my business, all because I’ve managed to make big shifts in my internal mindset around what is possible for me, my business and my clients.
Jeanna makes a digital and hard-copy journal available called Speed Dial the Universe, which has been an incredibly powerful tool for me. It’s a daily reminder to dream big and to set your internal compass towards allowing miracles to manifest in your life. I was skeptical at first, but my experience with it has shown that it really does work. The journal is a fun way to start your day because it focuses your mind, body, and soul on positive outcomes that you desire in your life.
First, you need to be able to dream big and set a big, clear intention about what you want to create.
This isn’t easy when we first start out. Our internal beliefs put all kinds of limits on what we think is possible. But you can strengthen this ‘muscle’ and over time, if you commit to doing this practice daily, you will find that you’re able to allow yourself to dream bigger and bigger. And when you start seeing the signs and small steps of what you desire appearing in your life, it’s so much fun!
The other important ingredient is surrender. You have to set your clear intention and then let go. This part can be really hard! We’re so used to controlling everything we want to create in our lives. However, without surrender, you can’t be in a receptive state and be open to receive the insight and wisdom that’s trying to be transmitted to you.
And finally, belief. This is very intertwined with surrender and can be difficult. With many things that I write down in my journal, at the start I’m not sure I actually believeI can have those things. But I’m willing to write them down. And with this simple act, it opens the floodgates for possibility, belief, and optimism to flow in. And this allows us to start behaving as ifwe already have the thing we desire. This in itself opens the doors to miracles.
So when you start acting as though you already are someone who has the things you desire, you become a ‘vibrational match’ to the things you want, and you start attracting those things into your life.
Feel like giving it a try? Start dreaming big, focus daily on the things that you would really love to create in your life and then sit back and enjoy the ride. And let me know if anything shifts for you. As always I would love to hear from you!
To read more about The Law of Attraction and how to apply it in your life, take a look at my two recent blog posts:
Have you ever felt constrained by a label? Or been unfairly compared to others? Or have you felt empowered by a label?
I felt compelled to write this article because I’ve seen both the positive and the destructive forces of labels playing out in the lives of many people close to me and I’ve felt them acutely myself.
Labels like ‘gifted’, or ‘not gifted’, or ‘talented’ or ‘not talented’ put us into artificial boxes that don’t actually exist (except in our minds) and they can limit — or over-inflate — the way we feel about ourselves.
Plus, they can become self-fulfilling prophecies in that what we believe about ourselves tends to become our reality. One of the biggest dream-killers is a lack of self-belief. And what better way to kill someone’s aspirations than to tell them they’re ‘not gifted’, or ‘not talented enough’.
Labels can hold us back. By comparing ourselves to others, we feel less-than.
And they don’t allow for the ever-changing nature of our authentic self to unfold and flourish. We’re not static, we’re constantly changing and learning. And measuring our ‘intelligence’ at a single point in time is unfair.
As a Career & Business Coach, one of the biggest hurdles I experience when coaching people to create the lives they so desperately want is their beliefs about themselves. I see them get all excited and lit up by an exciting vision of the future they’d love to create. And then I see the fear and inner gremlins creep in that tell them they’re not good enough, or ‘smart enough’ to make it happen.
You’re about to discover that IQ tests are not necessarily an indicator of your potential. Instead, there are four real elements that determine your level of success.
And you’ll find out how you can apply these four principles in your own life in order to thrive and unlock your full potential.
“In the 40-plus years that I have worked with children, I continue to be in awe of each young soul whom I am privileged to get to know. I have learned a great deal about each Self. I’ve experienced their emotions, anxieties, joys, passions, and ambitions, and I see that each Self is perfect in itself. It is only when we start comparing them to each other that we begin to see imperfection.”
— Annemarie Roeper, quoted in Ungifted, by Scott Barry Kaufman.
I’ve always had a bee in my bonnet about the concept of human intelligence and the idea that some people are inherently more ‘intelligent’ than others. I’ve simply always felt intuitively that it’s not accurate.
I believe we’re all equally intelligent, but in radically different ways. And it depends on our environment as to whether we get the opportunity to fully nurture and develop our unique form of intelligence.
When I was about nine years old I was made to sit a test called PEAC (Primary Extension and Challenge), based on IQ (‘Intelligence Quotient’) measurement. I was very surprised that I scored highly on that particular test, because I knew very well that I wasn’t any more or less intelligent than my classmates. I was under no illusion and I knew that my classmates were very good at some things that I wasn’t, and vice versa.
My classmates and I were all different and clever in our own, very different way.
My mind just seemed to work in a way that made me score high on this particular IQ test. As a result, I was labelled ‘gifted’ and channelled into after-school ‘extension’ classes. Suddenly my afternoons that were once filled with play time were spent sitting in a classroom learning about electronics, meteorology, ancient mythology and Italian. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I really didn’t enjoy those classes. It became a real source of anxiety for me to attend them. Plus, the label ‘gifted’ was very uncomfortable for me among my peers as well as at home among my siblings and created all kinds of unwanted tension. Comparison really is the beginning of all problems.
Then there is the story of Scott Barry Kaufman.
Scott is the author of the wonderful book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, who at a very young age was diagnosed as having a learning disability based on IQ tests. As a result, he was channelled into special classes for the learning disabled. Like me, he knew that he wasn’t any more or less intelligent than the others, but his particular kind of intelligence wasn’t fully quantifiable in an IQ test. He tried desperately to escape the label of ‘learning disabled’, which affected him in immeasurable ways (as you can imagine).
It wasn’t until one particular teacher in high school took a chance on him and allowed him to enter her ‘normal’ classroom. Scott went on to prove his school psychologist (and countless others) wrong by graduating from high school and he eventually completed a PhD in Cognitive Psychology at one of America’s most prestigious universities – Yale.
After being labeled ‘learning disabled’, he is now one of the most respected Psychologists in the field of human intelligence and is a wonderful example of how labels can be proven utterly wrong.
Kaufman’s book highlights the real limitations of IQ testing. He discusses how the first modern IQ test was developed in France by Alfred Binet in 1905, who was given the task of inventing a test that would distinguish ‘fast learners’ from ‘slow learners’ in a school environment. The IQ-test that Binet developed was quite effective at doing so, but Binet himself knew the limitations of the test.
After working with hundreds of children and their test results, Binet knew that the outcome of the test was not 100% reproducible and depended on a number of factors including the level of anxiety of the child at the time of the test, their current level of maturity, their environment, how motivated they were to do well in the test and the amount of stimulation they received until that point.
Binet knew that the IQ-test was not a direct sign of potential, which depends on a myriad of other factors.
Binet said himself: “With practice, training and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgement and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.”
And yet despite his public statements about the limitations of the test, the test was fervently adopted for measuring human intelligence worldwide. Lewis Terman, a professor of psychology at Stanford University in the USA was smitten with the Binet test and with some modifications developed the Stanford-Binet test in 1916, which went on to propel the IQ-test forward as the gold standard for human intelligence testing and remained America’s test of choice for half a century (Kaufman, 2013).
Terman and his team believed that intelligence is fixed, enduring and hereditary (which we now know is not the case). His labels influenced a whole new generation of IQ classification schemes. Interestingly, as Kaufman discusses in his book, Terman’s impact surprised even himself. As he noted about fifteen years after the first edition of his test was published “I knew that revision of Binet’s tests was superior to others then available, but I did not foresee the vogue it was to have an imagined that it would probably be displaced by something much better within a few years.”
The imperfect and flawed IQ-test was not superseded by something better within a few years as Terman predicted. It is still the basis behind most intelligence testing used worldwide today.
In his book Ungifted, Kaufman refers to research by Kevin McGrew which showed that IQ tests are “fallible predictors of academic achievement.” He explains how for any given IQ test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or below their IQ score. Conversely, and frequently not recognized, is that for any given test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or above their IQ score . So as you can see, IQ tests are not a be-all-and-end-all summary of your potential. They simply “measure an important but limited slice of intellectual functioning in a very limited test environment”, as Kaufman says.
So what is intelligence then?
I’m a big fan of Nicholas Lore’s definition of intelligence in his book The Pathfinder: How to choose or change your career for a lifetime of satisfaction and success.
“Intelligence is a natural gift for doing anything well.”
– Nicholas Lore
We all have a natural gift for doing something well. And therefore, we are all intelligent.
Each of us is unique, with a very distinct and particular zone of what I call natural genius; a particular set of skills, gifts, and talents that are unique to us. And who are we to judge whether one set of skills and abilities makes us more intelligent than someone with a completely different set of talents and abilities?
I call the things you do naturally well your natural genius because I believe that the term genius shouldn’t be reserved only for those who become successful and wildly famous because of their specific gifts. It should be acknowledged that we all have a specific kind of genius, and the only things that separate you from a well-known ‘genius’ are these following things:
· The right conditions, environment, and support to nurture and develop your particular zone of genius;
· The belief that you have a very unique and particular zone of genius;
· An attitude of ‘grit’, a term gaining popularity to describe “A passion and perseverance for long-term goals” (defined by Angela Lee Duckworth);
· A passion and love for something that allows you to sustain and fuel an attitude of grit, which in turn allows you to develop and express your genius to its fullest extent.
In her famous book Wishcraft, Barbara Sher discusses how we’re each born with a ‘seed’ of genius that contains the maximum potential of our fully expressed life; a bit like the acorn contains the blueprint of the fully developed oak tree.
But that acorn will not become a fully developed oak tree unless it is nurtured in the right conditions with nutritious soil, water, sunshine and air. Your natural genius needs a special kind of nurturing too with regards to the environment you grow up in and live in. Sher explains that all accomplished ‘geniuses’ received the right conditions to nurture their particular genius, including support from their environment, encouragement, stimulation, and opportunity.
Kaufman (2013) says that a nurturing family environment is a necessity to help a child flourish, just as a fish needs water to swim and survive.
And one of the most important discoveries in recent years is that the environment you’re in triggers gene expression.
This means that some talents lie dormant in all of us, waiting for the perfect environmental conditions to trigger them. So a supportive and stimulating environment is critical to the development of your own unique intelligence.
To understand whether your own zone of natural genius was nurtured as you were growing up, try to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following questions [from Wishcraft].
Was your natural genius carefully nurtured while growing up?
1. When you were a child, were you treated as though you have a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected?
2. Were you told that you can do or be anything you want, and that you would be loved and admired no matter what that was?
3. Were you given real encouragement in finding out what you wanted to do, and how to do it?
4. Were you encouraged to explore all your talents and interests even if they changed regularly?
5. Were you allowed to complain when the going got tough, and were you given sympathy?
6. Were you rescued when you got in over your head, without being punished or reprimanded?
7. Were you surrounded by happy, fulfilled people who were pleased when you succeeded?
If you answered ‘no’ to four or more of these questions, then it’s likely your natural genius wasn’t provided with the optimal conditions to fully unfold and develop. It’s possible that you don’t know what your natural genius is and perhaps you feel skeptical about even having one.
On the other hand, if you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions, it’s likely that your natural genius ‘seed’ was nurtured very well and allowed to germinate, perhaps grow into a seedling, or perhaps even into a fully developed tree. It’s likely that you have a clear and healthy sense of your own abilities and your unique gifts and talents.
That’s a wonderful thing. You’re very lucky!
One of the best places to start looking to uncover your natural genius is in your childhood. What are the things you loved doing as a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards and what would others say you were naturally good at? And what do you love doing? The seeds of your natural genius will be hidden in there.
There are many different kinds of intelligence and an infinite number of ways in which these types of intelligence can interact and complement each other within each of us.
Commonly referred to as ‘talent stacks’, different combinations of talents can result in very different and powerful abilities. Thankfully today there are numerous approaches, systems, and tests for discovering your own particular innate strengths, which can help you understand the best professions and environments that suit and nurture your particular genius.
I’ve highlighted just some of the many different ways the innate abilities can be classified in Table 1 at the end of this article. What’s important is that you recognize that you have a zone of natural genius. In her book Coach Yourself To A New Career, Talane Miedaner says:
“Our inherent abilities are so much a part of our makeup that they can be like breathing; we may take them completely for granted and not even recognize them as special talents and abilities”.
– Talane Miedaner
You’ll know you’re operating in your zone of natural genius if:
· It feels fun and easy;
· You can do it for hours and you are more energized afterward, not less;
· Time collapses around you. You lose track of the hours when you’re engaged in your natural talent;
· You create superior results with less effort;
· You add value effortlessly to those around you;
· It is easy to be successful;
· You are happy and fulfilled;
· You feel fully alive and self-expressed (Miedaner, 2010).
So how do you realise your maximum potential and succeed?
Potential, Kaufman says in Ungifted, is a constantly moving target. The more we engage in something, the more we develop our brain capacity in that area and the more our potential grows.
In his book Brain Rules, John Medina describes how what you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like — it literally rewires it. So you can absolutely develop intelligence in an area, depending on how much time you dedicate to something.
There are four essential ingredients for success:
In her compelling TED talk, Angela Lee Duckworth describes how in study after study, she found that the most telling factor for success was grit (passion and perseverance for long-term goals). Talent and success are usually unrelated or even inversely related.
She argues that it’s all about perseverance and follow-through.
This brings me to the other essential ingredient for developing your potential — passion. Passion is what fuels and sustains grit and follow-through. When you’re passionate about something, it means you care very deeply about it. But being passionate about something doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always feel upbeat and joyful. In fact, in Joseph Campbell’s famous book The Power of Myth he explains that the Greek root of the word passion translates to suffering.
In her article on the topic, Annabelle Parr describes beautifully:
“Following your passion means choosing a vocation that is so important to you, so vital to your being that you’re willing to suffer for it.”
– Annabelle Par
Annabelle Par goes on to define passion as being “where fulfillment, growth, joy, and change exist”. Your passion will push you to your growth edge and force you to fully develop and express your gifts which can feel scary, challenging and very difficult at times. But through this unfolding of your full potential, while being in service to something you care about, you’ll naturally feel deeply fulfilled and satisfied throughout this process of growth and change. Many studies have shown that people who feel most fulfilled are those who are giving their gifts in service to something larger than themselves.
Find your passion and you will discover your capacity for grit, which will allow you to develop your intelligence and proficiency to follow your dream.
So please, if you ever feel those inner gremlins creeping in that tell you haven’t got what it takes to fulfill your dreams, I am here to remind you of this:
· You are a genius in your very individual, unique way. Don’t let an IQ test result, or anything else for that matter, stand in the way between you and your dream;
· The world needs your specific gifts.
· The way to develop and express your full potential is to forge ahead with grit, perseverance and belief in yourself.
· Find your PASSION and let it fuel and sustain your grit and perseverance, and take you to the most fully-expressed, happy and fulfilled version of yourself you came here to be.
“Greatness is not born, but takes time to develop, and there are many paths to greatness.” — Scott Barry Kaufman
For the first time ever, this year I joined an inspiring group of wide-minded, visionary entrepreneurs in Jeffrey Davis’ Quest 2017: 12 Principles to do Business as Unusual – a powerful approach to planning the year ahead that involves weekly writing prompts to invoke “a possibility mindset, provocative points of view, deep reflection and a healthy dose of wonder”.
The group shares their thoughts and ideas in a Facebook forum that provides the container for everyone to share what kind of possibility 2017 could hold for each of us. As Jeffrey says “Together, we’ll seek meaning, integrity and impact in life and career while remembering that Do It Together (DIT) beats Do It Yourself (DIY)”. This is an open, free forum that you can join too if you’re looking for a thought-provoking and creative way to plan your year. The QUEST2017 group process is finished for now, but you can still use the writing prompts in this blog to reflect on your own journey. I decided to share the process with you here for two reasons: 1) To share my reflections, hopes and aspirations with you for the year ahead, and 2) To help you reflect and ponder your own plans and ideas, in the hope that it helps you align your own heart, body, mind and soul. This is a long blog post with 12 short essays so I don’t expect you’ll have the time to read through all of it! But please feel free to scroll through and jump to the sub-headings that feel relevant for you. Below are the 12 different writing prompts from 12 different visionar