Have you hit a wall in your business where you’re trying to do everything yourself and you’re becoming an over-worked, frazzled human in the process?
If so, you’re not alone!
You have to wear so many different hats as a business owner. You need to be the saleswoman, the marketer, the manager, the content creator, the service provider or product developer, the operations manager, the networker, the business development manager, and more.
Eventually you get to the point where you realise that you just can’t do it all on your own.
If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to start working ‘on’ your business and not ‘in’ your business. You’ll need to get serious about training other people up to do what you do, or you’ll be forever caught in a cycle of stress and overwhelm.
To grow and scale your business, surround yourself with a team of people who are reliable and competent, and can take the administrative burden off you. Outsourcing is a critical and absolutely essential step that’s required to move from ‘Breakthrough’ to ‘Profit’ in the 6 Stages of Business Growth.
This doesn’t mean you have to start bringing on employees. You can start by hiring a virtual assistant for just a few hours per month to do some simple tasks like social media scheduling and posting or payment tracking and client onboarding, to get started. If you’ve never worked with a VA before, check out my article: What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Do You Need One?
Outsourcing is not something that women seem to find naturally easy to do. Over the years working as a business coach for women, here are the biggest objections I hear when I suggest to a client that it’s time they start outsourcing.
Common Objections to Outsourcing
“I’m not comfortable with letting go of control.”
“I haven’t got the time to get organised enough to train someone else. It’s easier to just keep doing it all myself.”
“No one can do it as good as me.”
“What if they make big mistakes that make me look bad?”
“How do I trust someone else to deliver my high standards?”
Have you been guilty of saying any of these statements or similar?
If so, find a way to work through this resistance.
The good news is, all of these objections be easily overcome with great outsourcing processes in place, which I’m sharing below.
The Benefits of Effective Outsourcing
Here are some of the things that business owners say when they’ve been able to build up a team of reliable, trusted assistants around them:
“Oh my goodness, I wish I’d started outsourcing sooner!”
“Outsourcing has given me my time and freedom back.”
“I can finally focus my time on doing the work I love and growing my business.”
“I can take a holiday and my business keeps running without me!”
“Other people can actually do things better than me!”
What To Outsource?
The general rule for outsourcing is:
Any activity that you can pay someone else to do for a lower hourly rate than your rate, outsource it now.
The easiest things to start outsourcing are shown in the table below. Bookkeeping and accounting are the obvious things to start outsourcing if you haven’t started doing that already. Getting someone else to manage your client onboarding processes (organising payments, organising social media access, setting up email sequences etc) will also free up your time significantly.
If possible, you should continue to create your long-form content yourself. In my article The Art of Content Marketing I explain how you can repurpose and leverage one long-form piece of content into many different social media posts. Your virtual assistant can do all the repurposing and scheduling/posting for you, allowing you to spend your time putting your brainpower into a single, high-quality piece of long-form content.
How to Outsource Effectively
Effective outsourcing is all about effective communication. Outsourcing starts to go wrong when there’s a breakdown in communication.
Here are four steps you absolutely must follow in order to establish a successful outsourcing relationship.
1. Set Clear Expectations
Let your contractor or virtual assistant know exactly what you require of them. They can’t read your mind, so you’ll need to lay out all your expectations and requirements very clearly and succinctly. Don’t leave any room for ambiguity because this is where things can start to go wrong.
2. Provide a Clear Process to Follow
You’ll need to lay out the exact steps you want your assistant to follow. Once again, don’t assume they know anything, because they’re stepping into your business cold and they’ll need to know exactly what to do. It takes time to set up processes and procedures, but they’ll give you so much freedom and flexibility once you’ve established them because then your outsourcing can flow easily, freeing you up to focus on what you do best.
Here’s an example of daily instructions that I give my virtual assistant in Trello, which allows her to tick off the items as she goes.
Setting up checklists is a great way to set clear expectations and instructions for your virtual assistant.
3. Establish a Clear Review Process
To avoid any reputation risk, be sure to have a clear review process established with your VA so that you can review their work before they put it out into the world. My VA puts all her planned content into Trello before posting and scheduling it so that I can check over it and do my quality control before she sends it out. This way, you won’t be having to pull posts down if they haven’t met your high standards.
4. Establish Clear Communication Channels
Let your VA know how you want them to communicate with you. Do you want to set up a Slack channel for your work together? Or will you communicate via WhatsApp? Or Voxer? Again, be clear on where and how you want them to communicate with you so you can enjoy a fruitful and productive relationship together.
I hope you found this helpful on your journey to outsourcing.
A process that results in a marked change in form, nature, or appearance.
If you want to win more clients in your business, you need to learn to speak in terms of the transformation you provide.
What is the ‘before’ and ‘after’ state that you lead people from and to?
What are the results and the outcomes they get through working with you?
Have you ever spoken to a business person who starts telling you about an amazing process they have, or an incredible app they’ve created that has all these incredible features? And you’re left wondering – “But why would I want that?”
Many business people get so excited about the features of whatever they’re selling, that they forget to tell you why you would even need those features. To what end? What results do you get from their product or service?
Are you selling the end destination or the aeroplane?
When you want to book a holiday and you go to the travel agent, what’s the thing you’re most excited about? The end destination, right? If the travel agent starts telling you about the amazing aeroplane you’ll get if you choose one service over another, do you really care? All you’re thinking about (if you’re like me) is the cocktails by the pool, and the beautiful beach you’ll be close to – the end destination. I don’t care how I get there. I just want to know that I’ll get there.
It’s the same in marketing.
People don’t generally care about the process you’ll use to get them from A to B. They just want to know that you can transport them from their current ‘before’ state into their desired ‘after’ state.
If you want to create a significant increase in your revenue quickly, focus your time and efforts on encouraging repeat purchases from your existing clients. Getting happy customers to come back and buy again is more valuable and cost-effective than constantly acquiring new ones. And a product or service ladder will help you do this.
In this article, I’m going to explain why repeat customers are profitable and how you can encourage repeat purchases in your own business.
A returning customer spends three times more than a first-time buyer, and a loyal customer spends five times more.
This is because repeat customers are already familiar with and comfortable with your brand.
It all comes down to trust and confidence in you and your brand.
If you haven’t heard of the Customer Value Journey before, it’s a process where you turn a stranger from not knowing you exist into a loyal brand advocate. It’s a very reliable and essential process that you need to have in place to help your new prospects develop trust in your brand. But it’s also lengthy and takes time. The customer value journey is powerful but it’s also the reason why customer acquisition is costly, because build trust and confidence takes time and money.
A product or service ladder is a range of products or services rising in price and value. A higher price gives your clients more features and benefits.
One way to do this is to make your entry-level products or services (bottom of the ladder) free or relatively cheap. If your customer is happy and they feel they’ve received value, they’ll come back for more. And your profits increase easily as a result.
See Fempire’s service ladder below.
Your product or service ladder makes it easy to start small and build trust so that it’s easy to come back for more.
Each step of your ladder builds trust. And when you trust that someone is going to provide you with value, you’re likely to come back for more.
How to Create Your Product or Service Ladder
If you’re already in business with one or two products or services, you can break them up into smaller products or services, or offer a ‘starter’ version.
What’s a way that someone can experience your work and the value it provides for a relatively small cost? Or for free?
For example, if you offer virtual assistance services, perhaps your signature offering might be a full social media management package including content creation (e.g. blog), graphics creation, captions, hashtags, and social media post scheduling. But not everyone is ready or financially able to jump into this big offering. Perhaps your ‘starter’ package could be comprised of graphics creation and post scheduling only. And once your clients recognise the value and freedom it gives them, they might want to progress onto one of your more comprehensive packages.
If you’re selling physical products, you could offer your products in a range of bundles, for example, starting with a single item, and then bundles of three or larger, each bundle providing more value than the next as you move up the ladder.
If you haven’t yet gone through the process of productisation for your products and services, check out this blog article How to Make Your Offerings Clear with Productisation and be sure to do this as well. It will help you set up your product ladder and be clear about what you’re offering at each step.
How will you set up your product or service ladder to maximise your profits?
I hope this article has helped you. You might also like:
If so, it’s likely you need to optimise your Customer Value Journey.
One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make is they’re walking around trying to sleep with complete strangers. – Sabri Suby
This might sound harsh, but metaphorically it’s very true.
Has this happened to you before? You go to a lot of trouble to create a great product or service offering that delivers value and transformational results for your client, and you’re super excited to put it out to the market. So you send your great offer out to your email list and post it all across your social media channels multiple times. And then you wait with bated breath for the clients to start rolling in.
Except all you hear is … crickets.
If that’s happened to you before, you’re not alone. It’s a very common problem that first-time business owners encounter. And it’s completely normal that no one responds to your offer if you haven’t yet taken the time to move your leads and prospects through a powerful Customer Value Journey.
In this article, I’m explaining what the Customer Value Journey is and why you need one.
When was the last time you bought something from someone who you don’t know or trust? I’m guessing you’re like the rest of us, and you’ve never done that.
It takes time to build a relationship and there are roughly eight different stages.
You know how it goes when you meet someone you like. You might first invite them for a coffee, and if that goes well you might invite them out for dinner, and if that goes well you might do that a few more times before inviting them back to your place, and so on.
Both are a process of building a relationship naturally and organically. If you try to skip a step, it feels weird for everyone involved.
Figure 1: The 8 Stages of Relationships & Marketing
So how do you apply this to your marketing?
You’ll need to provide different types of content during each different phase of the customer value journey with the intention to move them one step further along.
Below is an overview of how you might apply the different steps to your marketing strategy (courtesy of Caffeinate Digital).
Figure 2. The Customer Value Journey – courtesy of Caffeinate Digital
Phase-Relevant Content Types
Here are the different stages and the different types of content you can use to organically move prospects along the customer value journey. The content is divided into ‘top of funnel’ strategies, ‘middle of funnel’ strategies, and ‘bottom of funnel’ strategies.
Figure 3: Content Marketing and the Customer Value Journey
Now let’s look at the eight different stages of the Customer Value Journey in detail.
The first step is to make your customers aware that you exist and that they have a problem that you can solve. During this phase, you’re simply educating, entertaining, and inspiring your audience. It’s all about giving value with no strings attached. You’re not asking them to spend any time or money with you, you’re simply giving lots of value for free.
In terms of human relationships, this is like the ‘romancing’ phase (see Figure 1).
The types of content to offer during this phase include blog posts, free events, social media posts, podcasts, video, etc (see Figure 3).
Step 2: Get Your Prospects to Engage
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, engagement is defined as “emotional involvement or commitment”. During this phase, you’re still continuing to show up and offer great value with no strings atttached, because your prospects are still trying to figure out if they know, like, and trust you. If they’re liking what they see so far, you’ll see your prospects engaging with your posts and your content, either through clicks, comments or shares. They’re starting to trust you.
If you can prove your value during this phase (by giving lots of great value), then they’re more likely to want to spend time or money with you, which comes during the ‘subscribe’ phase (next).
Your goal in this phase is to keep giving great value and informing your audience about how you solve the different challenges they may have so they’ll feel more compelled to get involved with you and your brand.
Step 3: Ask Them to Subscribe
As Digital Marketer says: “When someone likes their experience with your brand, trust begins to build. Once that happens, it’s time to ask for a small commitment – subscribing – and giving you permission to email them.”
In this phase, you offer them a lead magnet (something of high value that they can download for free), in exchange for their contact details. This allows you to continue marketing to them via email, further nurturing the relationship with them, and further building the trust and confidence in your brand.
There’s just one problem. Today, people are careful about giving out their email address. You have to offer something valuable that makes it worth their while. Think webinars, free samples of a product or chapters of a book, demos, reports, and guides.
You offer something they want, they fill out a form to get it. It’s that simple.
Step 4: ‘Convert’ – Make Them a Customer
As the team at Digital Marketer says: “If your free offers have enough value (answering questions and solving problems), your prospects are often eager to deepen their commitment. They just need to know how.
The best way to do that is through an entry-point offer—a high-value, low-risk offer that lets them sample your wares without putting too much skin in the game.
To be clear, an entry-point offer is not designed to make you a profit. Its only purpose is to create a smooth transition from subscriber or follower to a paying customer. You can focus on profits later in the customer value journey.
Now, in this phase, you only need to ask for a small commitment: say, $8–$20. Your goal is simply to cover your costs in acquiring the customer.
Step 5: Get Them Excited About Your Brand
This is all about creating memorable experiences for your new customers.
As Digital Marketer says:
Buying generates warm fuzzies. It’s a scientific fact.
Buying generates warm fuzzies. It’s a scientific fact. The dopamine from a new purchase gets people excited—which is why the fifth stage of the Customer Journey is to build on that excitement.
How do you do that? By giving your new customer a memorable experience.
Consider offering a quick-start guide… bonus features that surprise and delight… quick wins… any content that makes your new customers happy.
Step 6: ‘Brand Advocate’ – Turn Your Customers into Multi-Buyers
At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ‘ascension’ phase offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again. Your ‘ascension’ ladder is how you can upsell your existing customers from your core offer into higher ticket items with you.
Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.
Step 7: ‘Referrals’ – Ask Them to Spread the Love
Happy customers love to share their experience…
Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.
So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review, by sending referrals your way, or sharing social media posts with their audience.
Step 8: ‘Promote’ – Make Them a Promoter
Up until now, any “promotion” your customers have done has been passive. But in the promotion stage, your customers actively spread the word about your brands, products, and services. They tell stories, make recommendations, and share your offers because they truly believe in them.
Active promotion may be an affiliate or commission relationship—or just a free offer for sending some new customers your way. The point is, it’s a win-win for both of you.
How to Help People on Their Journey
Digital marketing is about helping customers move along this journey faster. That’s why you can’t use just one tactic or an ongoing series of unfocused marketing campaigns.
You need a plan that addresses every stage of the Journey. And you need to think in terms of optimising that journey.
When we’re confused, we don’t purchase. Simple as that.
I’m sure you’ve been there yourself many times. You see something you’re interested in online, so you click through. But then you end up confused about exactly what they’re offering, or maybe there are too many choices and you don’t know which one’s right for you, and because it’s all too hard and you’re busy, you bounce. You click away and get back to what you were doing.
So as a business owner, you need to do everything you can to make sure that your product and service offerings are clear and concise.
If you’re a service business, you’ll need to master the art of ‘productisaton’, which means turning your services into clearly defined products. The official definition of productisation is:
Productisation = Developing a service into a standard, packaged, and marketed product. (Reference: Investopedia).
People like to buy service packages that are clearly defined, that have a beginning and an end, and that promise a significant transformation as a result.
Presenting your services in the form of ‘products’ allows your prospects to get an understanding of the range of services you offer and the results you achieve, so they can choose a package that suits their needs and budget.
If you run a product-based business, then simply use the process I describe below to present the most popular product packages your clients buy.
Here are some rules to apply to your productisation:
Develop three different service packages that represent different ways clients can work with you.
Present your three service packages in a single table ranging from lowest price (left) to highest price (right).
Use a catchy (emotional) name for each package that speaks to the transformation you deliver.
List the features that are included along the left vertical column.
Use ticks to show what’s included in each service package.
Show the investment at the bottom. Pricing should increase from left to right.
To help you develop your own productisation, here is Fempire’s table showing the productisation of our private coaching programs.
Fempire Private Coaching Productisation
The process of productisation is the easiest way to showcase your products or services in a way that is clear and concise, giving you the best chance of closing the sale.
How can you present your products or services in a table like the one shown so that you give your prospects the best chances of buying what they need?
I hope you found this helpful!
Please reach out at email@example.com if you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you!
Are you comfortable telling your prospects what makes you so great at what you do?
If not, you need to be!
When it comes to marketing and selling your products or services, people will only know why they should work with you if you tell them.
I recently learned a technique from Petar Lackovic at The Sales Insititute which I refer to as Your Three Business Superpowers.
Your superpowers summarise:
What makes you so great at what you do.
Why your clients choose you.
Once you know what your superpowers are, you should tell people about them! Market them across your social media channels, write a blog or video about them, and get them onto your website for your prospects to see.
Learn how to succinctly describe your superpowers to your prospects during sales conversations and watch how your conversion rates increase easily and effortlessly!
There’s a format you need to follow when articulating your superpowers. Be sure to keep it clear and succinct (and the rule ‘less is more’ applies here).
Here’s the format:
A ‘green brain’ (i.e. emotional/powerful) name.
The background or story that makes your superpower important.
The result for your client.
To give you some inspiration, I’ll share my personal business superpowers, as well as the Fempire superpowers. I hope you’ll use these examples to develop your own descriptions.
My personal superpowers: Kate De Jong, Fempire Coach
My three business superpowers are (based on what my clients have told me):
I’m a lightning-fast strategic thinker and problem solver.
I’m kind and compassionate while also being results- and action-oriented.
I easily cut through the noise to focus on what matters most in your business.
If you’re not sure what yours might be, ask your clients!
Here’s an example of how you would break down one of these superpowers further for your clients, using the format I’ve given you:
[‘Green brain’ name] I’m a lightning-fast strategic thinker and problem solver.
[Background/story] Business is a constant game of problem-solving and strategising. You need to constantly troubleshoot your marketing strategies, develop compelling ways to sell your products or services, and come up with innovative ways to serve your clients to get results. This is where my first superpower comes in handy, which is my lightning-fast ability to solve problems.
[My superpower]I have a highly technical background, spending four years completing my Ph.D and then 15 years as a consulting engineer on large water projects worldwide. My highly analytical mind allows me to diagnose your business quickly.
[The result for you as a client] What this means for you is that I help you cut straight to the core of what needs to be done to generate profit as quickly as possible. No more spinning wheels or wasting time or money, I help you get on the straight and narrow quickly and easily.
Do you get the idea?
To give you some more examples and inspiration (if you’re like me, you might learn best through examples), here are Fempire’s three business superpowers and a breakdown of one of them.
Fempire’s Three Business Superpowers
We’re unapologetically a female-focused brand.
We have a 12-step Business Breakthrough Formula that provides a business-building roadmap for you.
We have a Sisterhood Community for success.
Breakdown of superpower #1.
[‘Green brain’ name] We’re unapologetically a female-focused brand.
[Background/story] Our experience has shown us that women learn differently, run our lives differently, and we think differently. And the only person who really gets this is another woman.
[My superpower] Because of this, we are unapologetically a female-focused brand. All of our business coaches are women. We intimately understand how women achieve and how they need to be supported to thrive in business.
[The result for you as a client] What this means for you is you feel fully understood and supported as a woman in business, which allows you to business success more quickly and easily.
So what are your business superpowers and how will you articulate them succinctly to your prospects?
I urge you to take the time to brainstorm your superpowers because this level of clarity will greatly accelerate your sales conversions.
Have you been in business for a while and you’re working your backside off, but you’re not making the money you deserve?
Are you feeling like a slave to your business?
Are you still not able to take a good holiday away because your business can’t run without you?
If so, you’re not alone.
This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series that teaches you how to finally achieve greater revenue and freedom in your business through optimising your Business Model (Part 1) and your Operating Model (this article).
If you haven’t read part one yet, I highly recommend you do (click here). And then come back to read this article as both pieces need to go hand in hand to grow your business.
So let’s look at how you can break through to achieve greater levels of revenue and freedom in your business through changing your operating model.
5 Ways You Need to Optimise Your Operating Model:
How To Run Your Business to Give You the Lifestyle You Desire.
So you started your business as a solopreneur and most likely you had to learn how to do everything yourself because of budget constraints. But now you’re still doing everything yourself while also trying to juggle your client load, win new clients, and keep up with the accounts and admin.
And it’s not sustainable anymore, right?
If you’re serious about breaking into a new phase of healthy profit and growth, you need to make some big changes.
Here are the five big ways you can untangle yourself from the business to finally create the freedom and revenue you desire.
1. Start outsourcing.
To reach profit and scale, you need to start working ‘on’ your business, not ‘in’ your business. You’ll need to surround yourself with a team of people who are reliable and competent and can take the administrative burden off you.
If you haven’t dipped your toe in the world of outsourcing yet, it can be scary, especially if you struggle with perfectionism and letting go.
But you need to find a way to work through this, otherwise, you’ll be forever stuck in the breakthrough phase and you’ll never get to profit and scale.
This doesn’t mean you have to start bringing on employees. Simply start by hiring a virtual assistant for just a few hours per month to do some simple tasks like social media scheduling and posting or payment tracking and client onboarding. If you’ve never worked with a VA before, check out my article:What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Do You Need One?
My advice when it comes to hiring virtual assistants is to go by word of mouth. Work with those who have proven themselves to competent and great value, because otherwise, you can burn lots of money and not get very far.
And when it comes to outsourcing, always follow this rule: Any activity that you can pay someone else to do for a lower hourly rate than your rate, outsource it now!
2. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and start planning.
If you want to grow and scale, you must make annual planning an integral part of your business operating model!
What are your growth targets?
How much revenue do you want to make?
Set some solid revenue goals to work towards. And chunk them down into90-day goals that you can work towards every three months to maximise your productivity.
Determine the marketing strategy that will enable you to achieve your revenue targets. How many times a year are you going to conduct your main lead generation strategy, whether it be a webinar, or an event, or a challenge? Plan them into your diary so that you can start developing your marketing calendar, which will include the delivery of your follow on signature program.
Or if you have a product line, plan in your seasonal promotions and offers so you can get your marketing schedule aligned.
Here’s what our 2019 Fempire marketing calendar looked like.
Planning so critical to business success. As the saying goes: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Take the time to get all your events and marketing milestones onto a single page marketing calendar and get busy working towards it. The gold is in the planning!
3. Start measuring your performance against your growth targets.
Once you’ve set your revenue and marketing goals, you’ll need to measure your progress against them on a regular basis. I recommend doing this every three months (90 days). That way you can revise your targets as you go and (hopefully) increase your targets upwards.
4. Automate your systems and processes wherever possible.
Now that you’re ready to grow and scale, it’s time to invest in systems and processes that take the administrative burden off you. As a minimum, here are some of the processes that should be automated:
Your email welcome sequences when clients subscribe to a lead magnet or discovery call.
Your calendar booking system and appointment reminders (I recommend Calendly).
Your customer onboarding process.
Regular client payments (use an auto-debit system so you’re never chasing payments).
5. Leverage your time. Move away from time = money.
If your revenue relies on your time, then you’ll need to think strategically about how you can uncouple yourself and leverage your time more effectively. Here are some ways you can do this:
Package your knowledge into digital products like online courses, programs or membership sites.
Move from one-on-one service provision into group work. Make your private service a premium price so that you only take on a small number of high paying, private clients, and the rest you serve in a group format.
Develop other streams of passive income through affiliations or joint ventures.
What are some ways that you could start uncoupling your business from your own personal time input so that you can finally start growing your revenue, independently of your time input?
There are two areas you need to focus your attention on so you can finally create the freedom and revenue you desire.
Your two leverage points as a business owner:
1. Your Business Model.
Your business model is the process you apply to you generate your leads, convert them into repeat sales, and how you price your products or services to generate profit. It encompasses the whole ‘customer buying journey’ that takes your customer on a journey with you to get maximum results and value, while simultaneously maximising their expenditure with you.
We’re covering your business model in this article (see part 2 for the operating model).
2. Your Operating Model.
Your operating model is how you operate your business. If you’re doing everything yourself right not, you won’t be able to grow or expand and you’ll remain forever trapped in your business.
Many experienced entrepreneurs often say:
“If you can’t take a break away from your business, then you don’t have a business.”
In a serial entrepreneur’s eyes, a business is something that can be sold on for a profit and it can run completely independently of you. Your operating model is the piece that will give you leverage, time, and freedom. Discover how in Part 2 (click here).
So to grow and scale your business, let’s first look at the five elements you need to optimise in your business model.
5 Ways You Need to Optimise Your Business Model:
Lead Generation, Sales & Repeat Purchases.
The formula below defines your business growth potential (ref. Ryan Deiss, Digital Marketer, Houston, USA).
Each of the four different elements in the formula makes a big difference to your growth potential. And when you make a small change in each one of them, the compounding multiplying effect is significant.
So what are these elements and how do you go about optimising each one to maximise your growth potential?
1. Increase Your Leads
A lead is anyone who is interested in your product or service in some way. How are you letting people know that you exist and that you can solve their specific problems? How are you demonstrating your value so that people can become interested in your product or service?
This is the realm of ‘lead generation’ and it’s all about moving prospects from the ‘awareness’ phase into the ‘consideration’ stage of the buyer’s journey.
Methods to generate leads include social media marketing, content marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation), paid advertising, webinars, networking, and email marketing, just to name a few.
To get more customers into your pipeline, you need to have strategic methods in place to generate leads. Which strategies can you implement or grow to add more leads into your pipeline?
To develop a ‘tap’ of leads that you can turn on and off when needed, you’ll need to enter the world of advertising. If you spend $1 on ads and you get $3 in return, then you’ll never have to worry about money again.
Advertising allows you to generate clients on demand. Without advertising, you have to rely on your organic marketing strategies and word of mouth referrals, which of course are very important for small business (85% of all small business transactions come through word of mouth referrals).
But if you want to grow and scale, you’ll need to develop a lead generation strategy that includes advertising.
I highly recommend that you learn how to set up a digital marketing campaign (Caffeinate Digital’s 90-Day Lead Generation program is fantastic), or work with a digital marketing agency to dip your toe into the world of Google and Facebook Ads so that you can start to experience the ease and flow that advertising can bring to your business!
2. Increase the Amount of Customers You Serve
The next element to increase your growth potential is the number of customers you bring into the business.
In order to generate customers from your leads, you need to get really good at selling, i.e. turning your prospects into paying clients. This requires that you master the art of conversion through powerful sales conversations.
The ability to close deals and convert prospects into paying clients through compelling sales conversations is a real skill that you need to learn, develop, and practice continuously.
If this part makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone, but you must focus on becoming great at selling as quickly as possible!
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you attend an intense sales training course. I did this a while back and my conversion rate went up from around 10-20% to more than 50% conversion. With a few solid strategies, you can learn how to become much better at converting leads into clients.
If you do nothing else, just focus on learning to close clients through powerful sales conversations and your growth potential will increase dramatically.
Now that you’re able to convert more leads into customers, the next thing to maximise is the profit margin on your products or services.
3. Increase Your Profit Margin
This is all about your pricing strategy. Your profit margin is the difference between your selling price and your cost for delivering that product or service.
For example, if you run workshops at $100 per ticket and you have 10 clients per workshop, then you generate $1000 revenue. But if your cost of venue hire and catering combined is $600, then your profit margin is only $400 per workshop. To increase your margin, you’ll need to either increase your price per ticket or find ways to reduce your venue and catering expenses.
What can you do to increase the profit margin on your products or services to increase your business growth potential?
4. Frequency of Purchase
The final element in your growth potential formula is the frequency in which you bring customers into your business. If you run webinars once every three months to generate leads and clients, then can you find ways to start doing that every two months instead?
The more frequently you’re generating leads and clients, the greater your business growth potential.
What can you do to start increasing the frequency of purchase?
AWARE How will you make prospects aware that they have a problem you can solve? At Fempire we do this via content marketing, free videos, great lead magnets, SEO, and Google Ads.
ENGAGE How will you catch your prospect’s attention and invite them into the journey with you? Via a Facebook Ad? Or Google Ad? At Fempire we mainly do this via Facebook advertising, which leads our prospects into a webinar.
SUBSCRIBE How will you get prospects to engage with you and your brand? Via a webinar? Or discovery call? Or a free workshop? At this point, your prospect needs to opt in to spend either time or money with you.
CONVERT How will convert your leads into paying clients? Via a sales call? Or a pitch at the end of your webinar? At Fempire we do this via a pitch at the end of our webinar.
EXCITE How will you get your clients excited about their decision to invest with you? Via an email nurture sequence? Via follow up videos? At Fempire we excite our prospects via an extensive email nurture sequence and we get our prospects into a Facebook Group where we get them excited in the lead up to their Fempreneur program.
ASCEND How will you lead your clients up through the different tiers of programs or products that you offer (see the image below to see how Fempire does the ‘ascend’ phase).
ADVOCATE How will you deliver such a great experience that your clients become brand advocates and bring in referrals for you?
PROMOTE How will you keep your clients connected with you so that you can continue to give them value and they can continue to promote your business for you? At Fempire we do this via our Fempire Elite membership group.
The Fempire Ascend Journey: Clients start by joining in the 6-week Fempreneur journey, then progress to our 12-month Mastery program, then to our Profit & Scale Program.
How will you lead your customers through the entire buying journey with you?
Get crystal clear on your specific customer buyer’s journey and put a strategy in place – including retargeting – in order to maximise your business growth potential.
So in this article, we’ve looked at Part 1 – Optimise Your Business Model. Head on over to Part 2 to find out how you can optimise your Operating Model to achieve huge profit and growth!
Because being in business for yourself has so many benefits. And being your own boss really is a beautiful thing.
But it’s also not easy to get a profitable business off the ground and it takes time. There’s a good reason why up to 80% of small businesses fail within the first eighteen months (you can read about that here).
If you’re contemplating taking that big step to start your own business, take note of these three key things that will give you the best chances of success.
Three things you need to know when starting your own business.
1. Know your ‘why’.
Why are you going into business? It’s critical that you get clear on this.
What is it that you care about so deeply that you want to go ‘all in’ and spend your days building a business around it?
Your business ‘why’ is also important because it should form the central message of your marketing strategy. If you haven’t yet watched Simon Sinek’s YouTube video called How Great Leaders Inspire Action, then you need to do that right now! It will help you understand why knowing your ‘why’ is just so critical and how you can communicate this through your marketing and promotions.
So do whatever you can do to learn about the art of selling. Sign up to some foundational sales and marketing courses, follow some sales and marketing experts online and soak as much as you can from their wisdom.
And be sure to get clear on the transformation that you create for your clients because this it’s that transformation that people actually buy. Your ideal clients want to move from a ‘before’ state to a desired ‘after’ state. How can you describe that transformation clearly and succinctly in your marketing?
Remember, if people want to take a holiday in Hawaii, they’ re wanting the golden beaches, the palm trees and the cocktails by the pool (the end destination). They’re not concerned about the aeroplane that will get them there (the process). So learn how to describe the end state that your dream clients are after – with as much emotion as possible (after all, people make decisions based on emotion and justify it with logic!), and your sales will go up dramatically.
And be sure to brand yourself up professionally. Selling is all about establishing trust and confidence in you and your brand, and the first step to doing that is great branding.
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
You’ll need around $5 – $10,000 as a minimum to get your business off the ground, and it will take at least 12 months to two years to start turning a healthy profit (read more here).
So you need to have a plan for how you’ll fund yourself during that time. Do you have some saved funds available that you can draw on? Or perhaps you’ll need to apply for government support such as the NEIS scheme in Australia (The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) which provides new business startups with income support for 9 months and quality business training for 12 months.
Once you’re clear how you’ll fund your startup, develop a one page business plan that outlines the key components of your business.
What is your business vision and mission?
What will be your basic business model and business funnel?
Which products and/or services will you offer, and how will you price and package them?
What will be your revenue targets for the first year? And the fifth year in business?
How many clients or sales will you need to achieve that target and where will you find those clients?
How will you market and promote your products and services? i.e. outline your marketing plan both online and offline?
These are all questions you’ll need to answer in your one page business plan so that you have the basic clarity that you’ll need to launch your business and succeed.
Are you starting or growing your own business? Get yout FREE copy of the FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK and discover everything you need to grow your Fempire as quickly as possible!
Did like you like this article? You might also like:
Business success requires an almost obsessive desire to constantly learn and grow. And reading is a fantastic way to do that. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, your business is a direct reflection of you. The more you strengthen and grow your mindset and your business knowledge, the better you’ll do in business.
Here’s a list of fifteen books that I think every female entrepreneur needs to read. These are my favourites and the ones that have had the biggest impact on me. Whether you’re just starting out or you have an established business, the following books are guaranteed to give you many “ah-ha!” moments and inspiration. There’s always more to learn. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did.
1. Out of the Closet: A Business Book for Women (Marnie LeFevre, 2016)
Topping my list is the wonderful book written by our Fempire founder Marnie LeFevre. I’ve always found it really helpful to learn how other women have managed to create a business from the ground up and in this book Marnie does exactly that. She describes with authenticity and vulnerability how she started her first business in her tiny closet, next to the ironing board, shoes and clothes, while raising her two small children. Having gone from working for Richard Branson and large corporations to becoming a stay-at-home mother and wondering if she could survive another Wiggles video, Marnie finally realised that staying at home was not serving herself or her family.
In her book she describes how she built her very successful marketing agency from scratch while raising her family and growing several other businesses locally and globally, receiving awards and recognition for her work.
What I love most about this book is not only the step by step guidance on how to brand, market and grow your business, but also the specific focus on what it’s like to be a woman in business. As women we face different challenges that only a woman can truly understand, which is why Marnie wrote this book – as a female entrepreneur – for female entrepreneurs, so that you feel understood and supported on your journey. Filled with practical advice and actionable strategies, Marnie writes with humour and grounded wisdom, making this book a page-turner and oh so enjoyable to read.
2. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity & Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur (Cara Alwill Leyba, 2017)
Cara Leyba writes about personal growth and entrepreneurship in a way that’s unique, glamorous, and refreshing. She first became famous through her blog The Champagne Diet, which started out being an outlet for her to chronicle her own personal transformation. She ended up with a huge following and her blog connected her with thousands of women around the world who were experiencing similar things. She realised that no matter where we come from, we all share the same fears and desires.
Cara explores the important questions:
“Why do women keep falling victim to the traps of jealousy, comparison, negativity and cattiness?” “Why hasn’t everyone discovered just how fabulous life can be when we empower each other rather than tear each other down?”
In her eight rules of Girl Code, Cara describes how we, as women, need to do the work to rewire our thought patterns, shift our mindsets and truly practice Girl Code so that we can become more successful than we ever dreamed possible. She steps you through exactly how you can do this and there’s some great advice in this book. If you’re in need of a mindset shift and some fantastic motivation, this book is for you!
3. Unstoppable Influence: Be You. Be Fearless. Transform Lives (Natasha Hazlett, 2018)
I had a light bulb moment while reading this book. I’d never really understood why I feel so much fire and passion in my belly to make a positive difference. Natasha Hazlett explains it in a nutshell in her book. It’s because I have ‘influencer DNA’.
Are you someone who can’t help but always try to positively influence those around you and inspire to them to do more and be more? Do you have influencer DNA? If so, you need to read this book. It’s full of nuggets of wisdom and insight to help you on your journey to creating the impact you desire.
Hazlett is a former attorney, a speaker and a business coach and she gives practical advice and strategies to kick your approval addiction and negative self-talk to the curb, reboot and recharge your life and business to make the money you deserve without working longer hours, and to instead welcome true freedom, happiness and abundance into your life.
Sounds great, right? And it is! I highly recommend getting your hands on this book. You won’t regret it. It will give you the inspiration you need to create your biggest impact as an entrepreneur.
4. Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom, and Abundance on Your Terms (Denise Duffield-Thomas, 2019)
Finally! Here’s a book for female entrepreneurs that explains how running your own business doesn’t have to be all about hustle and grind. Denise shows you how you can make great money doing what you love, while taking great care of yourself and your family along the way. She defines the rules for running a business without the stress or the burnout.
Denise gives practical advice on how you can trade in stress and overwhelm for strategic flow. And get richer while doing it. She’s the ultimate money mindset mentor, and has a masterful way of helping you see where your mindset is holding you back in business. Denise shows how each one of us has the ability to create so much success when we let go of our limiting beliefs and substitute them for the Chillpreneur business principles.
If you’re not yet making the money you deserve, you need to read this book!
5. Everything is Figureoutable (Marie Forleo, 2019)
It’s no surprise that this book is amazing because everything that Marie Forleo touches turns to gold. This book was inspired by Marie’s mother who once told her:
“Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.”
This one, single belief paved the way for Marie to create her multi-million dollar business, the life of her dreams and to be able to impact hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide.
Marie describes how there are no ‘quick fixes’ in business, but rather it’s all about how we respond in the face of obstacles, challenges and setbacks. She shares the attitudes, beliefs and mindset that have enabled her to become one of the most sought after coaches, speakers and writers worldwide. This book is guaranteed to get you inspired and focused and if you follow her advice you’ll become…. unstoppable.
6. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur (Carrie Green, 2017)
Carrie Green started the Female Entrepreneur Association as a business woman who felt lonely and realised there wasn’t a platform to support female entrepreneurs worldwide. She turned it into a thriving membership hub that now supports 350,000 female entrepreneurs across the globe.
I loved this book because Carrie describes in logical steps how you can up-level your business and life and get your ideas and messages into the world with maximum impact. It’s no surprise that once again, so much of what she shares is about mindset and developing positive inner self-talk. Her perspective and ideas are refreshing and very practical. If you need some tangible strategies around how to develop a positive mindset and put yourself out there in the market in an impactful, get yourself a copy of this book.
7. Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living (Glennon Doyle, 2020)
While this book isn’t written for women in business specifically, it’s a book that every woman needs to read. My copy of this book has post-it notes and highlights all through it because there are so many powerful sentences and nuggets of raw wisdom that really touched and changed me.
As a female entrepreneur, you need to learn to live by your own rules and expectations and trust your own inner voice and intuition. And that’s exactly what Glennon explores in this book. She describes with raw authenticity and humility how she finally discovered peace and joy when she stopped striving to meet others’ expectations and started to trust the voice deep within herself. She shares, through telling her own very personal story of bulimia, divorce, and finally marrying her love Abby Wambach, how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honour our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become powerful women, grounded in our own self-love and truth.
8. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know (Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, 2014)
Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman are journalists, reporters, and founders of Womenomics – a movement based on the idea that women’s economic advancement improves economies. In their book, they discuss how some of the greatest female leaders have an extraordinary, almost unimaginable belief that they can succeed, even when the odds are stacked, boulder like, against them. They have unshakeable confidence. As it turns out, these women are Unicorns because they’re so rare.
Over two decades, Kay and Shipman have researched confidence and interviewed some of the most influential women around the world. They realised that even these powerful women swim in self-doubt. During their research they discovered that low self-confidence is prevalent amongst most women, even when holding high positions in leadership and outwardly appearing to be very confident.
The authors discovered that self-confidence is in fact partly genetic – some of us are simply born with more confidence than others. But newest research shows that we can literally change our brains at any age (the scientists call it plasticity). Which means that if you choose to, you can develop this essential quality. Apparently confidence is what psychologists call volitional: our choice. With diligent effort, we can expand our confidence. And in this book they tell you exactly how. If your self-confidence is holding you back in your business, then you need to ready this book!
9. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Brene Brown, 2012)
I read this book soon after it was first published in 2012 and it was a major turning point for me. Starting off with Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “The Man in the Arena” speech, Brene makes a case for how vulnerability is the key to a successful and fulfilling life. She says:
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity for both; it’s engaging – getting in the arena. It’s being all in.” – Brene Brown
When I read this book I was in the process of launching my own business. And it gave me the courage and confidence to just do it. I put aside all my doubts, fears and insecurities, and fears of what other people would say, and I just decided to go ‘all in’. And it was the best decision I ever made.
If you’re struggling to go ‘all’ in with your business, or you’re stuck in procrastination or afraid of criticism or judgement, you need to read this book!
10. Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money (Lois P. Frankel, 2005)
If you want to be a successful business woman, you need to learn how to get smart with money. There’s no two ways about it. Business women who pay close attention to their money and consciously apply strategies to grow their revenue, end up succeeding. And those who don’t stay stuck in scarcity.
Lois describes the key behaviours and beliefs that keep women from being financially independent and following their dreams (and I’ve been guilty of many of them!). She shares her tried-and-true coaching tips on how to take control of your money and your life. She describes all the ‘nice girl’ behaviours that sabotage your success and gives you specific strategies to overcome them.
If you’re serious about succeeding in business, you need to get your hands on this book, read it front to back, and apply everything she suggests!
11. Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me This Sh*t Before? Wit and Wisdom from Women in Business (Marcella Allison & Laura Gale, 2019)
There’s nothing better than reading stories from women who have blazed the trail before us. This book is a collection of more than 60 letters from female leaders of multi-million dollar companies, solopreneurs, and every kind of woman in between. Each woman explains in detail what it’s like to be a female business leader, and shares her story in order to help other women succeed.
The stories are filled with truth, experience and hard-won wisdom. Because as the authors say “the only way we can begin to change the world is if we break the silence and begin to speak.”
I found these stories to be a lifeline and a road map to navigate our increasingly complex business world. Some of the stories describe extreme hardship but there’s also laughter, growth and triumph, and there’s so much to learn from these stories.
This is a comforting and inspiring read and it allows you to learn from the experience of business women just like you. Their stories of strength, courage and a fierce will to succeed will inspire you to continue on and build the business and life of your dreams.
12. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder (Arianna Huffington, 2015)
Arianna Huffington knows a thing or two about starting and growing a business into a global phenomenon. She co-founded the media company Huffington Post (which she sold for $315 million in 2011), before launching her extremely popular global wellness site Thrive Global, which provides science-based solutions to end stress and burnout. She’s a serial entrepreneur, mother, author of fifteen books and a highly sought after speaker.
Arianna had a big wake up call when she injured her face severely after falling down from exhaustion and lack of sleep. She realised that she’d sacrificed her health and well-being for the sake of her career and she knew she had to do something different. She’s since been on a mission to try to change our corporate business culture from stress and overwhelm into a culture where self-care is at the centre of our agenda.
Her story is incredibly interesting and she talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritising the demands of her businesses and raising two daughters, juggling deadlines and family crises. She has a very analytical mind and draws on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving. There’s a different way to do business and Arianna describes exactly what that looks like. Every business woman needs to read this book.
13. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business (Barbara Corcoran, 2003)
Real estate mogul Barabara Corcoran tells her captivating and entertaining story of how she grew $1000 into a multi-billion dollar Fempire. It’s an inspiring story that all female entrepreneurs should read. What struck me is the key ingredient that plays out in the background, all throughout her book. And that is, her unshakeable belief in herself and her abilities, in part thanks to the great role modelling and support from her mother and her grandmother.
Barbara proves that if you believe you can do it, you absolutely can. Once again, her story highlights just how incredibly important self-belief is for success. She proves how unstoppable we can be when we’re not held back by limiting self-beliefs.
Her story also shows how important strong and positive female role models are in our lives. And if you haven’t been fortunate to have strong female role models in your own life, then now is the time to step up and be that inspiring role model for the women coming behind you.
Every person who’s determined to succeed in business needs to read this book. Gerber is an incredibly experienced entrepreneur, having helped more than 25,000 businesses worldwide since 1977, and he knows what it takes to achieve business success. As he often says, there’s no ‘magic bullet’, but it’s about doing ‘the right things’, consistently.
When I first read his book it was a revelation, because he finally articulated what I had already grappled with over the years, and that is that as business owners we need to wear three uniquely different hats – that of the Technician, the Entrepreneur, and the Manager. We need to develop a level of mastery in each of these areas in order to success, and he explains how.
As Gerber says “This book is about an idea – the idea that says your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are. If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganised, your business will be disorganised. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving you less and always asking for more. …. So if your business is to change – as it must continuously do to thrive – you must change first.” And armed with the insight and knowledge in this book, you’ll finally know how to go about doing this.
As a woman in business, the single, core competency you need to master is the art of selling. Having the best product or service won’t get you there on its own. You need to know how to sell your great product or service in order to thrive.
My copy of this book has more than 100 post-it notes and highlights in it. It seems every page contains some important nugget of wisdom that’s worth remembering. Suby’s ruthless, direct, and honest style shakes you up and makes you realise that selling is all about mindset and the application of tactics that work.
Suby describes his eight phase ‘secret selling system’ that’s earned he and his clients over $1 billion. His advice is practical and actionable and will help you understand how to optimise your sales funnel to achieve sustainable success.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
If you’re generating website traffic via your marketing efforts, your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy, or advertising, then you need to have an irresistible offer clearly showcased so that your visitors are compelled to take action, engage with you, and spend money with you!
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.
In this article I’m assuming that you already intimately know and understand your target market (if not, go here to get started: How to Find Your Target Market), and that you know what their most pressing challenges and pain points are.
Once you know that your offer is going to solve a critical and high-pain problem that your client is currently experiencing, you can get busy crafting your irresistible offer that will make them want to say ‘yes’ to you right 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 our FEM Female Entrepreneur Mastery program offer that incorporates all of the different elements. Remember to use compelling imagery with your offer when promoting it in order 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 email@example.com +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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 consistent revenue 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 in order to provide a stable foundation for your 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 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.
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.
People won’t be able to find you without good SEO! Also, use appropriate hashtags so that you can be found on 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 and establishes trust and confidence in your buyers. 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. Offer compelling and valuable lead magnets to build your email database.
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.
#7. An E-mail 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 Hubspot, 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. In fact, your business is simply a reflection of your inner world and your way of thinking. If you’re someone who thinks big and believes in abundance and prosperity, your business will reflect that. And the opposite is also true.
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 selling and planning.
If you have your own business, then whether you like it or not, you’re in the business of selling! Find a way to fall in love with sales and you’ll thrive as a result. Selling is serving, it’s an act of love, so shift into a mindset in which sales is fun and fulfilling and watch how your business starts to shift and grow.
And 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.
Fempire is on a mission to bring balance to the business world by supporting female entrepreneurs to be equally as successful as their male counterparts.
We believe that positive change occurs happens when women are equally represented in the business world. Just like the yang needs the yin, we need more successful women in business leadership because diversity of perspective, approach and opinion creates better outcomes for everyone.
“Want to make more money? Put more women on your boards.” – Nassim Khadem
Research has shown that more women in business leadership creates better results for organisations. However, when it comes to the entrepreneurial world, women are simply not equal to men and are not represented to nearly the same degree. In their article Gender Pay Gap Worse for Female Entrepreneurs, the authors discuss how female entrepreneurs earn 30-40% less than their male counterparts. And only 45% of women contribute to their superannuation and are not building their future wealth. We’re on a mission to change that.
Our tagline at Fempire is:
The Future is Female.
And this doesn’t mean that the future doesn’t include men. Not at all! It simply means that we need more females in the business world because it’s currently out of balance with an under-representation of successful women.
If our tagline triggers you, it’s meant to. We’re intentionally and unapologetically a disrupter brand. We know that in order to disrupt the status quo and create positive change, we need to ruffle feathers. We need to have those difficult conversations. And that can be aided through controversial statements that open the way for discussion.
“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:
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, thereby bringing more feminine qualities into business leadership.
As a Fempire Coach, I spend my days helping women to become successful leaders. But focusing solely on women is not something I ever imagined myself doing. 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).
However I’ve seen through my own experience that there’s a huge need for female entrepreneurs to be supported in a way that allows them to become successful and thrive as business owners.
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.
One of the most important questions I get asked by my male friends and colleagues regularly is along the lines of:
“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.
“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.” – Oliver Chapman, in Are Empowered Women Empowering Men?
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.
“It is not enough to enlighten and empower women and expect men to follow.” – Maria Correira
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.” – Sean Illing
“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.” – William Petrocelli
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.” – Hugo Schwyer
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 email@example.com
Your strengths are more than just the things you’re good at.
Each and every person has a unique ‘zone of natural genius’ and you’ll feel fulfilled and satisfied if you spend the bulk of your days working in your zone of genius.
Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean it’s a ‘strength’. A true strength is an activity you do with a high level of ease and competency, and it also leaves you feeling energised and fulfilled at the end of it.
If you’re not operating in your zone of genius, you’ll easily feel drained and frustrated at the end of a workday.
That was my story for the best part of fifteen years.
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 well-paying job in the Humanities, I decided I should follow the overwhelming advice to study Science & Engineering and guarantee myself a career of financial security. 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.
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.