Marketing Feels Bad Because We’re Ashamed Not Because It’s Shameful

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The other day, I was wondering about why there was such an appeal to marketing courses that taught secrets of unconscious persuasion, stealth tactics, invisible influence, secret closes, ninja strategies etc.

The implication of all of these approaches was that no one would notice what you were doing. No one would notice that you were steering them towards buying from you. They would just, unexplainably, feel compelled to trust and buy from you. They’d just leave the conversation with your product proudly in their hand thinking that they had made the decision when, in fact, it was all you and the secret arsenal of tactics you’d deployed throughout the conversation.

Neuro Linguistic Programming comes to mind in this.

I think the reason that these workshops are so popular (and why even the most conscious of us have taken them or been drawn to them) is because we think marketing is bad. We think we are doing something bad by sharing our products or services with others. And so, we’re trying not to get caught (but, of course, we need to do it to pay rent).

It strikes me as a similar dynamic to what I’ve seen in the pick-up workshops offered to men. This same offering of ways to get what we want, as men, without being noticed.

I’m sure there are workshops out there for women that offer the same things.

I see this often in human interactions when someone is deeply ashamed of their own needs and scared to make any requests of others that might meet them.

And so much of it seems to be rooted in shame.

So much of it seems to be rooted in the deep sense that I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing.

And so, of course, we are drawn to anything that promises that our actions will have the intended effect while going unnoticed.

When this is at play, I notice that we, as humans, tend to become all manner of fake, sneaky, passive aggressive, creepy, controlling, underhanded, plastic and worse.

Recently a friend asked a favour of me she was terrified to ask. She was in a conflict with a mutual friend and she asked me if I’d be willing to commit to not vetting any letters this friend might want to send her way. She wanted me not to get involved in between. I was happy to agree to that as I knew this other friend had plenty of other people who would be happy to read whatever letters she might send and to give feedback on them.

My friend broke down into tears. She had been so scared to ask me. She felt it was wrong. When I said ‘yes’ so easily, some switch flipped in her.

What if there was nothing wrong with asking for what you want?

What if there was nothing wrong with expressing your desires?

What if there was nothing wrong with sharing what you have?

What if it was just a matter of learning how to do so skillfully?

What if it actually felt better to be direct in some matters than indirect?

What if we’re all craving candour and directness?

What if marketing was just saying, “I’m a needy human like you. I have needs. You have needs. Here’s what I’d like to offer you in exchange for your money. Does this feel fair?

What if the reason it feels ‘off’ is because we’re ashamed of doing it not because it’s inherently shameful to do it?

What if marketing could feel good? What if marketing wasn’t about getting anyone to say ‘yes’ but about having a human conversation about whether or not it was a fit? What if this was true about dating too? What if our attention was more focused on the truth of the moment than our goal of what we think we want? What would marketing look like without shame? What would it look like if we felt no need to hide what we were doing?

What if marketing felt bad not because it was shameful but because we were ashamed of it.

Additional Resources:

Courting vs. Seduction in Marketing

The Three Roles of Marketing

The Heart of Selling

Greg Faxon Shares His Unique Take on Selling and Enrolment Conversations

Are You More Comfortable Being Salesy or Subtle?

Be More Repulsive

Get Rejected Faster

 

Getting Off The Fence: Hobby vs. Business

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Is what you do a hobby or is it a business?

This is an important question to answer because most entrepreneurs I know are on the fence about it.

There’s no right or wrong answer to it. But I know a lot of people who say it’s one and do it like the other.

My friend Theo drives for UPS. He loves his job. It’s his meditation. He offers massage for free on the side as his gift to the community. It’s a hobby for him.

But I know a lot of people who are baffled by why their business isn’t growing and, when I look at it, it’s clear. They aren’t treating it like a business. They don’t invest in it. They don’t work on it as well as in it. They don’t make systems. They do everything on their own. They haven’t sorted out their niche. None of which would matter if it were a hobby.

If you treat it like a hobby, it will never grow like a business might (and, to be frank, even if you treat it like a business, there are no guarantees it will grow at all).

But it can be a huge relief to jump off of the fence in one direction or the other.

If it’s a hobby, get a full time job and just enjoy doing it when you have the space and feel the urge to share it or work on it.

If it’s a business, then focus, hustle, work on it every day.

Which way do you want to jump?

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Note: If you’re clear that you’re wanting to really jump off the fence on the side of building your business, I invite you to get on the email list for my more in-depth, mentorship program. You can sign up here to be the first to hear when spaces open up.

When to invest in your business?

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Running a business takes investment.

The world of service providers (e.g. life coaches, holistic practitioners, speakers, permaculture practitioners etc.) is an unusual one.

In any other business, be it products or retail, there’s a clearly understood need to invest into one’s business. There’s the storefront, there’s the decoration, there are the machines and tools needed to make the products, there’s distribution etc.

Starting a new business, or scaling an existing one up costs money. That just seems to be how it is. And so that money either comes from savings or some manner of financing. No one questions this. It’s just how it is.

But, amongst the clients I work with? This is often utterly foreign.

In most industries, it’s understood that you won’t see a profit for two to three years, and you get yourself some bridge financing to sustain yourself in the meantime.

But, amongst the clients I work with? There’s an expectation of being profitable immediately.

I remember speaking with my good friends at Verge Permaculture about this and they told me how much they’d spent on their website. It was substantial.

“We see this as our virtual storefront. We want it to look good. We want it to work well. This represents us.”

Running a business takes investment.

Many service providers assume that this outlay of cash only applies to their training in whatever modality they’ve learned. But your expertise in your field is actually just what gets you in the door. That’s all.

If you were a cabinet maker who wanted to open a shop? Your skills would be the start but then you’d still need your tools, your space, the wood etc.

Running a business takes investment.

Sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money.

But, in this sphere, it doesn’t always occur to people that they need to do this. So many try to do everything themselves. They become ‘do-it-yourself-entrepreneurs’. They don’t hire help. They don’t get coaches. They try to design their own websites. They don’t hire admin help, even when they need it. And then they beat themselves up with this idea that they should be further ahead than they are.

Running a business take investment.

Now sure, you can bootstrap it. That’s what I have done.

And slow, organic growth is a beautiful thing. It’s how I’ve grown my business.

And there are moments when a judicious investment can be a big help and allow your business to grow and thrive.

Where does that money come from? That’s another story entirely. I cover some ideas on how to generate cash flow quickly in my Meantime 30 Day program but, it may not come from your business.

I know some entrepreneurs decide to get bank loans or lines of credit. I know some borrow from friends and family. I know that others refinance the mortgage on their home.

This moment for investment usually comes when you are maxed out. You can’t do much more than you are. You’ve hit a sticking point that you can’t seem to get over and you’re clear what it is.

“If only I had _______” is how it usually goes.

When you find yourself in the moment, it’s worthwhile to sit down with pen and paper and a calculator and to crunch the numbers. Would an investment in what’s missing actually free you up and allow you to make more money in the long term? Even though it’s scary, might it be worth it?

And don’t just trust yourself. Ask your friends. Ask your colleagues you trust. Run the numbers by them and tell them where you’re thinking of investing. Have them point out the problems with it.

I’m not advocating foolishness. I’m advocating discernment.

But, once you’ve reached the end of your capacity and you’ve discerned where the investment is needed, there comes a time where you make the leap and invest or stagnate while others move ahead.

I invite you to sit with your business today for 15 minutes. Just sit and consider it, pen in hand with these questions written at the top of a blank sheet of paper, “Where is my business asking for investment? Where is my business hungry to be fed? Where is my business being asked to carry more than it can? What’s the most important investment I could make that would free me up to make more money?”

Just sit with it and see what comes and then, when the time is right, do it. Start small if you need to. Don’t hire a full time assistant, just someone to help out for two hours per week and let it grow. That kind of thing. But be willing to invest in the growth of your business.

There comes a time when it won’t grow without it.

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Note: If now is feeling like the right time to make some deep investments into your business’ growth, I invite you to get on the email list for my more in-depth, mentorship program. You can sign up here to be the first to hear when spaces open up.

Make Your Offerings More Attractive By Weaving Your Lifestyle Into Them

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I couldn’t get myself to tidy my home on a regular basis and I seemed to resent scheduling regular calls with clients because I hated my schedule being so full and I hated being locked down to sit at my computer. I spend to much time on it already (shakes fist at Facebook). Then I combined them (tidying + coaching calls) into The Puttering Sessions. The response has been incredible (the first round sold out in two hours or less), the waiting list is growing and feedback from the sessions has been strong.

And on one of those puttering sessions I spoke with a client in Glasgow. He’s studied a form of personal and spiritual growth that’s made a big difference in his life but rankled at the thought of being a typical life coach who was stuck on the phone talking with people everyday. He’s also one of the tidiest people in the world and has a deep love of doing the dishes and would travel the world to find a new way to fold his socks more beautifully. And so, when my launch email for my puttering sessions hit his inbox he was overjoyed and told his confused co-worker, “I’m going to be doing a marketing coaching session while he does the dishes! I love tidying!

During our call, as I listened, ideas began to occur to me for him. “What if you were to do some YouTube videos where you videos yourself tidying your home or teaching that new way to fold your socks and you were to pair that with some insight that you had about your inner work? What if you were to weave together those two seemingly unrelated worlds and show how they were actually the same? What if, instead of doing coaching sessions on the phone you were to go over to their house and spend the day tidying a room of their house, a deep cleanse, while you were also doing a deep inner cleanse about a particular something that was bothering them? And what if you brought people together in a MeetUp style group to help some good community groups get organized or to tidy a park and it included a potluck and a little talk from you? And you could even do a 30 Day virtual challenge where people spend thirty days cleaning their home while also cleaning up their mind. They’d take and post before photos and after photos. They could have a daily tidying and journalling practice.

He was over the moon with the ideas.

There was a life-coach who loved hiking. He was thinking of quitting coaching, because he was locked inside on his phone all day, until one day a friend of his asked if he couldn’t ask people to go hiking with him and do deeper coaching sessions in that way or, at least, do the sessions on a Bluetooth headset while coaching.

There was a triathlete kept meaning to start up a podcast but couldn’t find the time until he tried recording it while he was cycling. The out-of-breathness of it gave it an authentic feel, people loved it and he was finally able to start doing it.

Imagine a barber who loves old folks and their stories and cutting hair but who hates being locked in a barber studio all day, five days a week who decides to work out of his bag and travel to old folks homes to cut hair.

Imagine a life-coach who’s a gardener who works in the garden while coaching and uses metaphors from nature and what’s around them while they coach people, or who brings them by to work in the garden with them?

Imagine someone with a penchant for knitting who knits while talking to them on the phone or who invites them over to her home to knit together. The client would be asked to work on making something as a gift to soemone they care about. She could host worshops and insist that every knit while she talk and she could knit while she teaches.

Or hide tanning. Or wood cutting. So hand skills that could be woven into a rhythm of teaching. This is, of course, nothing new.

Where could you weave together what you love, what you need to get done and your work together?

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Note: If you’d like support in finding out what this might be for you, I invite you to get on the email list for my more in-depth, mentorship program. You can sign up here to be the first to hear when spaces open up.

Guest Post: The One Copywriting Secret Tool We All Have

by Ling Wong | business-soulwork.com

This article is adapted from Ling’s new book on Copywriting for Coaches, Consultants, Solopreneurs & Small Businesses – How To Turn Your Personal Brand into Powerful Marketing Communications.

People buy from people, not a faceless company.

People trust people, not a website with fancy sliders.

Especially for coaching, consulting and professional services, clients want to work with those they trust. They’re willing to pay a premium for that.

How do you cultivate that trust when you’re leveraging online channels to generate leads and get in front of potential clients?

How can you stand out from a sea of competition without being a loud-mouthed promoter saying or doing things that aren’t in alignment with your values and personality?

Answer is actually pretty simple…

Be HUMAN

Your copy and content needs to boldly and unapologetically reflect your personal brand and present you as a HUMAN BEING. (It sounded kind of funny the first time I wrote it. Then I looked at it again, and it’s so true. Metrics and stats can be generalizing and dehumanizing.)

Unfortunately so many people hide behind the façade of a logo or a company instead of showing their true colors to connect with their audience.

Being human is about making the connection and creating the resonance, a winning combo that builds trust and credibility to make conversion simply the natural next step.

Being human is about opening up, having the courage to share your story and being vulnerable. Purposeful storytelling and responsible vulnerability is not a whine fest, nor is it manipulative.

You can only be truly vulnerable when you know you’re strong enough to show up to whatever shows up to you.

When you own your vulnerability, you’re also demonstrating your confidence — the confidence your audience wants to experience to know that they can trust you.

Unfortunately, there are many people who throw around vulnerability because it’s “hot.”

Vulnerability is the window to your HUMANITY, so show some respect.

Airing out your dirty laundry without connecting it with your bigger message from a place of service is self-gratuitous.

Don’t toss around emotions just to make a sale.

Be genuine. Share your emotions with the utmost intentionality to communicate your values, convictions, skills, life experiences, and talents.

Congruence and integrity build trust. Trust brings clients.

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11-truly-vulnerableBeing human is about having a two-way conversation with your audience, because they’re human beings too.

It’s not about having the latest marketing automation system, or the newest bright shiny objects.

Interact and connect, instead of squeezing your peeps through some marketing conveyor belt that does little to distinguish you from a sea of competition that’s doing the same thing.

Don’t let a piece of software dictate how you communicate with your audience.

Let’s put the horse in front of the cart by first designing a user experience that reflects your brand personality and points-of-view, and delivers value in a way that taps into your strength.

How do you want your audience to experience YOU? What kind of interaction would make them feel connected to you?

Based on this user experience, which (surprise!) puts the user first, you can choose the right tools with clear intention and discernment.

Make sure your decision to set up any technology is not driven by fears. Burying yourself in technology without clear intention can make your brand experience confusing — and the confused mind says “no.”

You don’t want your peeps to experience you as a compilation of the latest marketing software. You don’t want your personality to be buried so deep that nobody can experience it underneath all the bells and whistles.

Don’t fear that “YOU being YOU” is not enough so you need to hide behind some fancy convoluted sequence.

Don’t let the fear of being judged drive you to follow what everyone else is doing — regardless whether the tactics suit your business model and serve to highlight your strength, or not.

Don’t fear that if you don’t look like everyone else or have some “polished” looking sales funnel you’re not “professional.”

Don’t be afraid that if you’re not selling some $67 information product you’re losing out — everything has an opportunity cost.

Don’t let the fear of missing out drive you to purchase a boatload of software and tools before you’re clear on how you can design a user experience that best suits your brand personality and serve to drive home your message.

Remember, at the end of the day, sales and marketing is about one human being on one end, communicating with another human being at the other end.

img_3672-199x300About Ling

Ling Wong :: Intuitive Brainiac | Copywriting Alchemist. Through her unique blend of marketing coaching, content strategy and copywriting process, she helps the maverick-preneurs uncover, articulate & transform their WHY into content that connects, resonates and converts  – by way of an intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years experience in the online marketing industry.

Get her brand new book Copywriting Alchemy: Secrets To Turning a Powerful Personal Brand Into Content That Sells here.

Guest Post: How To Get Unstuck and Leave Behind A Working Life That Makes You Feel Trapped

by Erica Sosna

You know the feeling right. The Sunday night dreads. The knot in the stomach, the anxiety, the sleepless night.

How did you get here?

Maybe you just kind of stumbled into this line of work.

Maybe it was fine for a while, but then a change of personnel or ownership in your organisation made a radical difference to the culture.

Maybe you even dreamed, once, of this position, but have now radically outgrown it – and are now twiddling your thumbs. Or the squeeze on headcount has meant you are doing the work of several people and your email traffic is in four figures.

Whatever it is, however you got here. I am here with good news.

We are going to work together, to get you out of there.

And we are going to start right now, with this article. I promise you, if you take the time to read it, by the end of this article you will be in a way better place and your move on up will have already begun.

May I give you a lifelong investment in your future in just 10 minutes?

Well hang on, you say, why would you trust me to help you get unstuck?

Good question. Let’s start with the introductions.

I’m Erica Sosna, the Author of Your Life Plan. For the last twelve years, I have been working with creative and talented people like you, to help them get unstuck from careers they hate and to move into work that suits who they are, what they love and how they operate.

I do this because work is important, you spend a lot of time there and when it doesn’t work for you, it can have disastrous impacts on your confidence, health, happiness, the lot!

How do I know this? Because I have been there and done that. I did what I ‘should’ do rather than follow my key interests and loves, I took the ‘sensible’ path because I thought the unorthodox was dangerous and wouldn’t work and I did what I was told by society, because I didn’t have the self-knowledge to take actions that suited who I am.

Consequence – breakdown, stress, weight gain, smoking, horrid, horrid, horrid.

My mission is to save us all from this, through my blogs, my books, my courses, my talks, to give people clarity on who they are, confidence to go for what they want and the competence – the practical skills, to get there.

How do I know it can be done? Because I have personally done it!

I’ve made every kind of career change, from employed to self-employed, from public sector and charity to private corporation and across industry, from education to consulting to Government departments. So I have made many of the shifts my clients tell me impossible.

Plus, I love change and can help you love it too! My insatiable thirst for new experiences and new perspectives can help you feel more confident about making the move.

And lastly, I have found my calling and helped hundreds of other people do the same – so they only need to make one shift, to get in line with their purpose. And once they have the method to do that, the rest is easy.

The Problem

See, most of us didn’t receive an education in who we are and what we would be good at and without knowing this, we stumble around hoping our career will just happen to us. And then, even when we do realise what we want, we don’t know how to get from here to there and we decide it is impossible.

Once I found my calling, others began asking me how I did it and how I got so much done.

So I developed a method to get them unstuck and into a working life they just love – that is uniquely designed to suit who you are, how you work, what you are good at and what matters to you.

And that, in summary, is what I am sharing with you today – a method to help you to get where it is that you want to go.

This article will give you the ammo to get moving in the right direction, with a range of practical tools to get out of that trapped place and into work that, well, works!

So here’s what you’re getting today…

First I’m going to show you a proven way to recognize and overcome the key thought trap that keeps people stuck in careers that they were never meant to be in

Then you will get a whole new perspective on why you are where you are that will transform you from victim to champion

And I’m also going to give you a set of steps which as I take you through them – will build an action plan that will put you on the path you’ve been longing to take.

Sound good?

So let’s dive in…

First things first: Getting Your Mind Unstuck

In all manner of ways, fear is the key source of our feeling of stuckness.

Think about it. What stops you progressing into a new role or taking a new path?

Somewhere in you there is a story about what will happen if you step into something new and that story is strong enough and potent to keep you right where you are.

Fear is the number one enemy of progress. It can stop us in our tracks. We become paralysed into inaction. So unless we learn to work it with head on and know it for what it is, we will constantly sabotage ourselves.

But the problem is, we weren’t shown how to manage fear in the classroom.

Or even at home.

You see that’s because most teachers and parents weren’t trained to teach us how to deal with it.

Fear Paralyses Progress

Our interpretation of life and what is possible during  it (including a change in role or career – the area I specialise in), is filtered through a number of basic ‘programs’.

These programs can be helpful or unhelpful.

Conscious and unconscious.

They can make us feel things are  possible or just a bridge too far.

And even more importantly they either make us feel good or make us feel bad.

And all of these programs now exist in your brain because you’ve either learned them as you’ve grown up or they’ve been given to you by the world and well-intentioned others.

The good news about these programs is that you get to control which ones you use and which ones you don’t.

And the more you’re able to recognise which ones don’t serve you and how to remove them… the quicker you’ll be able to make the changes you want in your working life.

For example… when you want to make your PC run faster by getting it to use it’s memory more efficiently… you’ll run a virus checker to remove things like malware.

The difference this will make if you follow me here is phenomenal.

So first, let’s  see some of these  fear programs in action.

Let me show you how they work.

There are lots of different kinds of programs , but let’s take one most of my clients grapple with and you may too…

Part I: No way Jose! I am NOT moving! AKA Fear of Change

When we begin to think about something we want to do that’s outside of our day to day norm, we can get excited and engaged and then, moments later that forward motion comes to an abrupt halt.

Why…? Because we get scared. We get to the limits of what we think we know and what is familiar and we start to imagine all sorts of things that could go wrong.

But the truth is that the fears we have about the future if we made this change are just things we’ve made up. They are just a negative story about the future – disaster stories that frighten us into not taking the next step.

The Disaster Fantasy Trap

For example, let’s say you really want to leave your current role and opt to go into a completely different line of work or even start your own business.

First, you might worry about whether it is even possible to work in this new area with no experience. Then you might panic about how your family might feel about it and how you would survive if you had to take a pay cut to get there. In an instant, you see yourself unemployed, losing your home, and the kids wearing rags and people that know you looking on in disgust. Not exactly a ‘happy ever after’ story is it?

BUT...we don’t actually know what will happen next in the story of our lives until it has happened.

The Disaster Story  Exercise

Right now think of the career or life switch you want to make  – a goal or a dream you have that you’ve thought about for a while.

When  I decided I would move from permanent employment into freelance consulting, I knew that I needed to have a plan. I was clear that I wanted to move on, but was trapped by my fears of financial insecurity, about having to go to the bank of mum and dad, about losing my home etc etc.

And so, I didn’t just jump ship and quit because I knew that would freak me out and I wouldn’t do my best work in that condition.

This exercise helped me to get past that fear and to devise a plan of action that was really going to work. Instead of being overwhelmed by my fantasy of the future,  I began to work out what I could do in the 6 months before I moved on, to give myself some stability. I quietly began building relationships and lining up opportunities. I got my website and branding in order. I studied marketing.

Result?

New career and more work than I could handle.

Now it’s your go. I’m going to take you through the tool I used to breakthrough, right now.

I’d like you to answer the following questions for me:

Describe a career goal you want to achieve.

Write down what you are afraid might happen if you took steps toward that goal?

How might people react?

What might they say?

What risks would you run?

What is the worst thing that could happen?

Would you survive if it did?

Ok now, let’s look at each of these fears and capture three actions you will take that would prevent or massively reduce the chance of fear in your unfolding  disaster story from coming true.

As you’ve most probably realised from doing this… as you do it you instantly reduce the power of these scary thoughts- because when we look at them in the light of day we discover two amazing things – one – that the likelihood of that big disaster happening is quite low and two – that if we plan in advance we can take action to avoid the things we don’t want and enhance the chances of things we do want to happen… happening.

The Moral of The Story

You are much more powerful and capable than your fear would have you believe. The disaster stories about the future are just that – big scary movie stories. And actually, they really aren’t that likely. In a strange way, the fear stories about change can be useful to us. They help us to know what we need to manage and to plan for when we are making a change.

You are resourceful. Smart. You can do this.

So promise me, you will do the exercise. Look at your disaster story. Find ways to plan for the exact opposite to happen. And start taking small actions. Keep taking them. Small leads to big. Knowledge = Power.

Tweet this: Make fear your friend.

Part 2: Getting Out of Our Own Way – I Need A Hero!

The Conversation Inside That Keeps You Stuck

There’s a conversation going on inside you right now. Have you noticed?

Every day we talk to ourselves.

Even when we’re not aware of it, we’re chatting away about things that have happened or are about to happen.

But one conversation that keeps people in lives that they know are not meant for them is the one where we tell ourselves how unfair the world is and “why is it that this bad stuff always happens to me?”

You see the assumption in this is that you have no control over where your life is going and this is just not true. A career is a series of choices – if you don’t make them, then they are made for you. And you are much more powerful and capable than letting that happen to you. Imagine, if you will, that you are about to head off on a new adventure. And the next step in your career is the next chapter in the book of your life.

So let me share how to remove the victimised “I’m so unlucky… this stuff just happens to me” mind virus so you can see things for what they really are… just part of an unfolding story…

To do so, I’m first going to suggest to you that you are not a victim of circumstance.

Actually if we were working together I would see you completely differently… I would see you as a hero or  heroine starring in your own movie.

You see our life as journey and I like to think of you as the hero on a quest and that’s the way I want you to think of yourself from here on in.

Because…

The more we reposition how we view ourselves in our OWN minds and our own lives as a brave person standing for what they know is true and good (something we know all heroes do), the more able we are to move through the world achieve the things we’ve always wanted to achieve.

So let me take you on what is called the Hero’s Journey.

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This is the contents page from my book. Your Life Plan, which follows the Heroic Journey from start to finish and gets you unstuck…

Then A Hero Comes Along…

The Hero’s Journey is a map for how change and transformation happens in our lives. It allows us to see that whenever we head toward a grand dream for ourselves, there will be challenges and twists and turns.

If you think about it, like heroines and characters in your favourite films and stories, we are the central character in our own movie.

You are the star, the only person who is in every scene.

We cannot control everything but we can work together with fate and destiny to write our own new chapter. And the more we reposition ourselves as the central character, the more we feel empowered to take decisions and actions in spite of any fear, challenge or resistance that we might feel.

This journey maps out the movement that heroes and heroines make, from a current reality into a new world through adventures and challenges and adversity.  If you think about it this is how change happens in our own lives. And by seeing the twists and turns of the journey as a natural part of your story, we are more able to respect the process and support others and ourselves in tough times.

Walking The Heroic Quest

And it all begins with THE CALL.

The calling to do something different. This is either a push or a pull.  A push is something that forces us to leave what is familiar, while a pull is an opportunity or incentive. A call to step into a new role, or area of work for example.

The hero (i.e. you) usually resists this because it is inconvenient, dangerous or involves leaving their world behind. They resist until the call becomes too strong to resist and then they step into commitment to action.

But here’s the amazing bit about a Hero’s Journey… As soon as they make this commitment a red carpet of support rolls out ahead of them, with allies, support, resources, mentors coming to their aid.

Making it Happen….

As they pull together their plan and their supplies and head out into a magical realm they find there are points where they feel lost  until they reach the grand challenge. The supreme ordeal. They must battle with demons– perhaps external foes or internal limitations. But they win this battle against the odds and, recover, receive rewards, learn and integrate and then return, transformed to share what they have learned with others.

You can map this structure to most classic stories, from Red Riding Hood to Star Wars. And yet, if we look closely, it also applies to the experiences of our lives. Whenever we decide we want to make a major change and we commit to action, we become the heroic character in our story.

And your career if a huge adventure and filled with opportunity for you to shine.

And this is how I see you right now…

As a hero, life will be challenging, there will be times you want to give up. But just knowing that this is a normal part of any transformation … trust me… will liberate and empower you..

Take a look at the map of your own quest.

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Where are you on it?

Spring Into Heroic Action!

Now you know where you are and you know it is meant to be. I want you to consider…what would it take to get you to the next stage of the journey?

What action are you going to take today to get you that little bit further?

The Moral of The Story

Remember you are not a no-hoper, with a lack of direction and an attitude problem – you are a hero or heroine on a quest! And Yes, the quest will be hard at times, and yes, you will get scared, tired, angry, bored on the way. But one thing I know is, you can get to where you want to, if you are willing to no longer let bad programming stop you.

Tweet this: I am the hero or heroine in my own story.

And Finally: Ready, Steady….Go!!!

This final section is all about how to get moving. How to plan for your next steps.

I want to show you how to breakdown the next move in your career into easy and practical steps so you can make things happen fast rather than just hope they come true someday. There’s a lot more detail in my book and Your Breakthrough (www.ericasosna.com) on defining your end goal and ideal work, but this blog can help with that too.

Biting off more than you can chew

A challenge that most of my clients suffer from, which is the goal or dream just seems too big and they frighten themselves off from starting!

But what many don’t  know is that you can make a lot more progress, more quickly… if you start small. Many of us get stuck by thinking about the BIG goal and think we have to jump straight in at the deep end and we naturally have some reservations about doing so. This concern about jumping straight in can mean we sit on our dreams and delay waiting for the perfect time – which never comes!

The way to solve this is to start with really small, easy practical steps.

I want your journey toward your destination to feel as fun and spacious as possible and by following my lead that’s what we’re going to do together.

So let me show you how you take a  BIG goal and turn it into something manageable- something that get’s done.

So here’s my secret planning sauce…

Honey, I Shrunk The Goal!

Often when people think about planning for a goal, they work towards it rather than backwards from it.

The problem with this is that you don’t yet know how you are going to get there.

But working backwards from the goal in the way I am going to show you now is going to help you to get super clear on the steps you need to take so you can , get moving and start changing things up fast.

You see a big career goal is just a ‘journey of 1000 steps’ so all we’re going to do is get a map out the steps, one by one. But the secret to our success will be not starting at the beginning, but starting at the end.

The Exercise To Get You Moving

Write your large dream goal at the top of a page.

Put some numbers around it – a date, some timing, some amounts, maybe a figure in money terms.

Then think about the goal as if it has already happened and you have already got there.

And from this position I want you to imagine – what do you think you did just before you achieved it? And how about the week before? The month before? Work down the page until you get to an action you could take today to start you off on your journey to your destination. And then, get going!

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By working through in this way, starting with the ‘end goal and working backward, you can benefit from the wisdom of your intuition and imagination.

You can work out a path where you did not see one before.

And you can help to keep your motivation when things get tough, by seeing clearly how the action you are taking is specifically focused and useful in helping you get to your end destination.

How I Used This Method to Do What I Dreamed Of Doing

There’s a story for another day about how I got my book deal, using my Your Breakthrough tools, but let’s just say I got there. But then, I had to write Your Life Plan – in 3 months!

And I did it bit by bit, working backward from the deadline I agreed with my publisher, when does the final draft need to be in, when the first draft, when do I need to decide on images, when do we need to finalise the book cover. ……

And today, what do I need to do?

The Moral of the Tale

You can use this ‘work backwards’ method to make a massive dream a practical reality. I’ve used it over and over, to change roles, to set up businesses, to write books, to plan parties, to restore my garden – anything that felt too big and scary to start!

Go on. I dare you.

Tweet: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

Go Get Em!!

If you are really ready to get unstuck and are ready to breakthrough your fears and want some help in deciding on a new career path, then please sign up to one my free Your Breakthrough webinars for career changers.

Next Steps

I am so excited for you. I believe in the possibilities and potential you have inside, to be all you can be. I know there’s fear, I know there’s stories about the future that you are using to scare yourself silly. I know you know you are capable of a much more fulfilled life, if you could just get moving in the right direction and define your direction and purpose. If you are ready to start the journey this Free Webinar on successful career change is a great lift off point.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-10-28-pmErica Sosna is the author of Your Life Plan, a popular motivational speaker and a careers transformation coach working out of London. Since 2004, she has helped hundreds of professionals discover the work they love and take action to get paid to do it. Find out more about how she can help you by clicking here.

Ten Simple Ideas to Deal With The Reality That Most Marketing Work Is Boring as Hell

10979948 - bored and tired business person working at home

Here’s the truth: most of marketing your business is boring.

It’s the tedious making lists of people to contact.

It’s pre-writing emails.

It’s scheduling things out and making plans.

It’s rewriting headlines.

It’s editing eBooks (dear God… the editing).

It’s doing all of those things when, frankly, you’d rather be having beers with friends or watching Netflix – House of Cards, amiright?).

99% of the work of marketing is not clicking send on the email or publishing the sales page. I think it’s why so many people do so poorly. It’s boring. It’s avoidable and, so, it is avoided.

What can be done about this?

Idea #1: Develop Packages That inspire you. Come up with packages and offers that are inspiring for you and that work for your lifestyle. You’ll be more excited to market them.

Idea #2: Do things in stages. Don’t try to sit down and write a sales letter in one go. Let yourself gather some thoughts for a few weeks. Have a place you can write them down as they come. Then, let yourself do a rough outline and then let it sit for a week. Then do a very rough draft and let it sit for a week. If you do it like this, each step feels manageable and you can see progress. Don’t let yourself do more than that. Let yourself have little wins. Of course, this means giving yourself enough time to plan. Most don’t and the combination of avoidable boring work mixed with an unavoidable time-crunch is the worst sort of entrepreneurial hell there is. Plus, it usually produces the worst kinds of results.

Idea #3: Work parties. Have work parties with friends at local cafes so you can show them what you’re working on and take breaks to chat. Don’t do everything by yourself and add loneliness to boredom.

Idea #4: Systematize regular breaks. Install something like RSI Guard on your laptop to make you take breaks from time to time. This has been a godsend to me.

Idea #5: Have a niche you’re excited about. If you’re doing work that doesn’t inspire you at all or that you aren’t very good at, it’s going to be hard to get yourself inspired. Take the time to figure out a niche you love to be in.

Idea #6: Develop a solid business model (and then build it). To do a lot of boring work towards creating a business that you aren’t sure will be profitable? It’s a terrible idea. If you have the business model in mind that you are trying to build, it’s much easier to stay motivated about it.

Idea #7: Make sure you have a system to stay organized. I use Things as my to-do list manager. Have some sort of tool that allows you to check things off as they get completed so that you can feel some sense of accomplishment.

Idea #8: Power Hour. I got this idea from the good Bill Baren. Have one hour, every day, when you’re at your most alert and focus only on your business. Turn off your phone and Facebook. Focus. You’d be amazed what you can accomplish in a focused hour.

Idea #9: Do five minutes. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed at the prospect of doing some long, boring job that we know will be tedious. So, just sit down and do five minutes. That’s all. You’ll likely find that getting over the hump to get started was the hardest part and that you easily do more than five minutes.

Idea #10: Make your marketing a practice. Meditation is boring most of the time. So what? It still brings benefits if you do it regularly.

Over to you. Post any of your ideas in the comments below.

If Your Marketing Feels Hard Then Something Is Wrong

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Marketing shouldn’t feel hard.

That’s not to say that it shouldn’t take effort. It does. That’s not to say it doesn’t ask you to hustle. It does.

But it shouldn’t feel like a struggle.

I see so many people struggling to figure out which tactics to use and how to use them.

If it does, it likely means that some of the fundamentals are missing.

90% of the time, when I see people struggling it’s because they don’t have a clear niche. or a well-articulated

If they have that and it’s still a struggle it’s often because they’re lacking a well-articulated point of view.

If they have both of those things, then it’s usually that they’re missing clear and compelling packages.

If they have all of that and it’s still not working? It’s almost always that they’re using a cold approach to marketing instead of identifying and building relationships with hubs.

When you’re building a house, it’s only a struggle if you don’t have clear blueprints to work from.

As Rumi put it, ‘Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.’

 

Guest Post: How to Teach a Class to Get New Clients . . . Based on the Cycles of Nature

natural-business-cycle-revised-4-16-for-9-6-16-blog-postGuest Post by Julie Wolk 

Today I’m going to teach you a very practical marketing skill that I love and use regularly in my own business: teaching a free or low-cost intro class that gives people a taste of you and your offering so they can’t wait to work with you.

And get ready – it’s a long post, but it will walk you through all the steps you need to design a really rocking class.

If you have something interesting to teach and you enjoy teaching (or you’re willing to push yourself a bit and put your gifts out there, nudge-nudge), this is one of the easiest ways to get new clients.

What’s unique about what I’ll show you here is that it’s a nature-based model for teaching and learning. It will give you the confidence to deliver an effective class, and have your students feel deeply held in a strong, interactive, inspiring container… that feels totally natural, and not awkward.

There are two main problems that we’re going to try and circumvent here:

  1. Many of you have something to teach but you don’t necessarily have facilitation experience or a format to follow. This means that even if you have amazing brilliance and wisdom, people can get lost or bored, and worse yet, if you don’t have a plan for how to help people take the next step, you’ve lost a huge opportunity to actually get new clients after teaching your class.
  2. The other problem is that there is a lot of noise out there – and a heckuvalotta “free webinars.” And many of them are super low on content and super high on pushy, annoying selling. That’s not what we’re going for here.

What we are going for is you sharing your gifts with people in an inspiring way so that no hard sell is needed, giving people an distinct invitation to go deeper and apply what they’ve learned by working with you, and offering people a ton of value whether they end up working with you or not.

Some Logistics Before We Start

  1. You can do this live, on the phone, or via webinar. The format is similar for all, but here I’ll walk you through teaching a LIVE two-hour course, and then I’ll give you some simple tweaks at the end if you want to take it online.
  2. I’m not giving exact timing for each stage because it can vary, but for a two-hour live class, assume the BLOSSOM stage is one hour, and all the other stages together are one hour. 

Choosing a Topic for Your Class

Your class needs to give people a taste of your work and make them excited to learn more. It should be designed directly to solve a problem or need that your specific target audience has. So, if you’re not clear on your niche and your target audience’s biggest challenges, it will be hard to pick what your class is about.

You can either teach an overview of your whole process, or you can choose one simple part of your work to teach them about that naturally leads to your other work.

For example, I teach a class called “Tune into Nature to Grow a Business You Love.” It gives an overview of my entire philosophy of business, the 3 Principles of a Natural Business, and the 8 Stages of the Natural Business Cycle. It answers my clients’ yearning for a clear structure for how business works that also feels natural and easeful. I could also teach a class, for example, about helping people find their niche naturally. This would be a great taste of what I do that leads to many other things I teach about, and it helps people solve a specific problem I know they have. 

Just remember, you want the people who show up at your class to be your ideal clients, because you are going to invite them to work with you at the end of the class. It has to flow.

Finally, you only need ONE CLASS! I teach the same class over and over again. Of course I refine and tweak it over time, and it changes and gets better. But there is no reason to reinvent the wheel here. That takes more time for you and confuses your message. Keep it simple!

A Nature-Based Model for Learning

You can see a picture of the Natural Business Cycle above (and if you’re curious about it, just go here on my website).

The Natural Business Cycle is based on an incredibly inspiring model created by Jon Young called the 8 Shields Model that I’ve studied and implemented for years in a variety of contexts. What I’m teaching you today is also based on this model. (If you’re intrigued about learning how to build healthy, earth-based culture and community by teaching people how to reconnect to nature using this model, I highly encourage you to check out the 8 Shields Institute).

This model basically posits that there is a natural learning process that tracks the natural cycles.So here we go! You can literally lay your class out according to the eight stages outlined below.

There’s a spot at the end of each stage for you to fill in the blanks and prepare YOUR class.

Stage 1: SEED

This is the very beginning. And SEEDS are magical, right? So much potential! So we begin with a moment of gratitude, a blessing, a moment of silence, a deep breath, or a simple “Welcome and thank you for being here!” (depending on the vibe of your work and the tone you want to set).

After saying thanks, it’s the perfect time to set an intention for your class. Again, this can feel very spiritual, or it can be super practical. The point is that while we are in the place of the SEED, or pre-birth, we set the tone for the entire class. Here’s what I say in the SEED stage of the class that I often teach:

My intention for our time together is that we take time out for the next two hours from this sped-up world to slow down, take a deep breath, and remember that we humans are actually of the earth! We ARE nature, and everything natural has a cycle, including our businesses.
 
If you like, this is also a good time to state your vision, the why behind your work, or the stand you are taking with your work.
 
Your Turn:

  1. What is the opening moment going to be like for your class?
  2. What’s your intention for this class?
  3. Why do you do this work? Why is it important?

Stage 2: ROOTS

Now that everyone has arrived and is present, there is the formal orientation or introduction to the class.  It’s more logistical in nature than the SEED stage. People like knowing what’s going to happen, and you want to tell them early on so they know what to expect. This helps them feel ROOTED and ready to grow and learn.

So here, you’re going to let them know you understand why they’re here by identifying some of the issues or challenges they might be showing up with. Then you’ll tell them what they’re going to learn in the class and how you aim to help them solve those problems.

Then, you can give them the brief agenda for the class: “After this introduction, we’ll do a warm-up exercise, then I’ll teach you about X, Y, Z, then we’ll have small group discussions, a Q and A session, and then at the very end I’ll let you know how you can work with me if you’d like to.”

Then you’ll introduce yourself. Tell your story… how does your experience relate to the content you are teaching them today? Use your introduction as a teaching moment. People want to get to know you, and this is your chance. Take a few minutes for this.

Then, if you’re in a live class and there aren’t too many people, I recommend going around the room and having each person introduce themselves and telling one small piece of info about themselves (there will be more time for people to get acquainted in the next stage).

Finally, tell people any logistics they need to know about: the bathroom is down the hall, etc.

Your Turn:

  1. What types of challenges might your students be experiencing if they showed up at your class today?
  2. What do you aim for them to learn today that will help with those challenges?
  3. What’s your brief agenda for the class?
  4. What’s your personal story?
  5. What’s the intro question for your students?
  6. Any logistics to tell them about?

Stage 3: SPROUT

It’s icebreaker time. The SPROUT is full of energy, and this is the moment to take advantage of the excitement in the room and get people interested in learning… about themselves, each other, and the subject matter.

You could do any number of activities here, from movement games to a simple sharing circle, but I’ll give you one activity that combines physical movement (great for getting people energized), getting to know the people in the room, and helping people hone in on their own intention for being there so they get the most out of the class.

Here’s how it works:

  • Have everyone stand up and wander around the room. If you’re feeling it, you can ask them to act in a particular way. For example, I’ll have people pick their favorite season or animal and walk around the room in that style. It’s goofy and loosens people up.
  • After a few moments, say “stop” and have people stand in front of the person closest to them (so they make pairs).
  • Tell them to ask their partner the following question and then switch. Give them each one minute to speak, and time them (tell them when to switch partners): What’s your name and what drew you here tonight?
  • Then have them walk around again as another animal or season (or whatever!) and have them stop in front of a new person and ask a new question: What’s your name and what do you hope to get out of the class this evening?
  • Do this one more time and ask a third question. I’ll let you choose this one. Make it something specific to why they’re here for your particular class.  
  • Round everyone up and have them sit down again.

Your Turn:

  1. What ice-breaker will you do?
  2. If you do the one above, what are your three questions?

Stage 4: BLOSSOM

Ok, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. The part you thought was the whole class, but really it’s just this one part: the actual content of the class! Here you get to BLOSSOM and really share your beautiful gifts. This stage of the cycle parallels the heat of summer and the mid-day sun… you’ll put out a lot of good energy in this stage.

Of course, this IS an important stage, but it’s important to note that this is just ONE aspect of the class, and all those other parts are really important to having everyone feel held in a natural, holistic process.

So how do we give over the content in the most effective way?

First, you need to give people the context and framework for what you’re teaching. Don’t assume they know what’s in your head. Even if it seems basic to you, start at the beginning and give an overview of what you’re teaching before diving into the details. Make sure they understand why it’s so important too. If you’ve done this already in the SEED and SPROUT stages, great. No need to belabor it.  

Now, I want you to choose three (ish) things you want people to learn in the class. It might be, “Three Uncommon Ways to Heal Anxiety Naturally,” or “Three Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Niche.” (PS – This can also be the title of your class!). Map out the whole class, thinking in headlines, bullet points, and simple visual models. And I totally didn’t believe this when I was first started teaching, but if you can group your teachings into threes, people are much more likely to remember them. Further sub-divide each point into threes as well if possible.

A really tight way to deliver each of your teaching points is to first outline the problem, then the solution you are offering through your approach, and finally, the outcome they can expect if they do it.

Here are three pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Rushing and running out of time. Know that if your class is two hours long, the BLOSSOM stage will be an hour or less. And it will go fast. Which leads to…
  • Teaching too much (less is more). Teachers always try to cram way too much into that hour. Your students get oversaturated more quickly than you think, so it’s best to keep it simple. After you make a first draft, go back through and cut it down. What is essential to teach them? Cut out anything that’s not. Ask a friend if you need help with this.
  • Worrying about perfection and memorizing. The most important thing is that you to show up as YOU, feeling as relaxed and natural as possible. This is way more important than the perfect words. And this goes for the whole class, not just this section.

Your Turn:

  1. What is the context, framework or philosophy behind what you’re teaching?
  2. What three things do you want to make sure people learn during this class?
  3. What is the overview or outline of your class?
  4. Fill in all your bulleted teaching points (remember the rule of threes).
  5. For each main teaching point, can you name the problem people are facing, how your approach could help them, and what could happen for them if they do it?
  6. Time it, and then cut some out (it will take longer to teach in person than practicing alone).

Stage 5: POLLINATE

Whew, that was a lot! Now it’s time for the POLLINATION stage, the moment of conception. In the cycle, it’s actually a pause, a time to let our bodies catch up to our brains and soak up all the wisdom you’ve just imparted, so we can start to integrate it. So what does this look like in practice?

In a daylong class or a retreat, it’s a physical break: time for a walk, going to the bathroom, a meal or snack and conversation. During a short class like this one, I simply have people stand up and take a stretch break, or take a few intentional deep breaths as I say, “Well, that was a lot of information, let’s take a few deep breaths and let that all sink in!”

We need time to slow down and start to integrate and embody our learning. Give people a moment for this. The rest of the cycle will focus on further integration of the learning.

Your Turn:

  1. How will you hold this pause for integration in your class?
  2. What can you do for yourself at this moment to make sure you take a pause (hint, it’s a great time to take a sip of tea and take a deep breath!)?

Stage 6: FRUIT

It’s time now to for people to gather together and harvest the FRUITS of their labors. Basically, you’ll divide people into small groups so they can explore how to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives. And people LOVE this part… connecting and sharing and talking about themselves? What fun! And, it’s where the real learning happens. I like to take about 15 minutes for this section (longer if possible).

On a logistical level, you need to hold this tightly. Make sure you have a timer and a sound-making device (or a loud voice), and don’t be shy to walk around the room and let people know when it’s time for the next person to speak. Everyone needs a turn, and you need to facilitate this.

Below are my favorite questions to ask to help carry the work forward (but you can also come up with ones that are specific to what you’re teaching).

Three Good Questions to Ask:

  • What lit you up about what you just learned? (or, what’s an epiphany you had about your own life/business?)
  • What’s something you might change about how you’ve been doing things after this class?
  • What’s a first action step you will commit to taking after this class?

Your Turn:

  1. What two to three questions will you ask people in order help them apply what you’ve taught to their own lives?
  2. What supplies do you need to bring to facilitate this stage?

Stage 7: NOURISH

In the NOURISH stage, you as the teacher get to draw out lessons from your students experiences to help them more deeply embody the learning for themselves. Just like a fruit nourishes our bodies or the soil, knowledge and wisdom nourish our minds and souls.

On a practical level, it’s time to share lessons from their small groups with the whole class and for the Q and A session.

So first, ask a few people to briefly share a little fruit, or lesson, from their small group discussions. Don’t skip this part! It is so inspiring for everyone in the class to hear what people are actually gaining from your class. And it sells your work BIG TIME (without you saying a thing) when people in the class get to hear everyone’s amazing epiphanies. Feel free to augment these learnings by responding or adding to them.

Then it’s time for Q and A:

Three tips for a lively Q and A session that doesn’t get out of hand:

  • Ask everyone to take a moment and write down a question they have. Let them know how much time there is for Q and A, and manage their expectations by asking them to come up with a concise question so that everyone can have a chance if they want it. (Then, if someone is rambling on and on, it’s easier to interrupt them and ask them to keep it short).
  • Try to make each person’s question relevant to the whole group by spotting lessons, creating teaching moments around them, and showing people how one person’s issue or challenge may actually be relevant to others. (If someone has a very specific or logistical question that will take a long time to answer and isn’t very relevant to others, invite them to come up talk to you after class).
  • Stick to time. Q and A sessions have the potential to get really boring. Ten or 15 minutes is generally enough in a two-hour class. If there are many more questions, stay late and talk to people AFTER you make your offer and close the class in the next stage.

Your Turn:

  1. Think about what people might come back from their small groups with and practice responding to some of their discoveries.
  2. Think about questions that people might ask in the Q and A session and practice responding to these questions. 

Stage 8: DORMANCY

We’re coming to the end of the class, the DORMANCY stage – a place of resting in the fertile soil that’s been created during this process.

This stage is not only about rest, it’s also about giving the space and the opportunity for new inspiration to come in. It’s the perfect time to let people know how they can work with you going forward.

And make no mistake: this is actually the most important part of your class (if you truly want to get more clients through teaching it). So pay close attention to the steps you need to take here to make sure that the people you are meant to work with have the opportunity to do so.

How to Make an Effective Invitation to Work With You:

  • I open this stage with a statement something like this: I covered a lot of content on this call, and I know that actually implementing it is a whole other story. And the reality is that for most people, actually implementing all this stuff is unlikely without support. And yet with support, it can make things so much more (your outcome here). And THAT is why I do (your type of program) with people.
  • If you are offering one-on-one work or a group program that requires a consultation to join, the simplest invitation is to sign people up for a free consultation right now, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.
    • First tell them the benefits they will get out of the consultation itself (not the whole program!), how and why it’s helpful for people. Think outcomes. Even though it’s free doesn’t mean they’ll take the time to do it.
    • Then tell them the details about how they sign up for it (you’ll be sending around a sign-up sheet, see below).
    • You don’t need to tell them all the details of your program offering during the class if they are going to have a free consult with you anyways.
  • If you are offering a course or something else that they can purchase on the spot or via your website (without a consultation), you’ll need more time to explain all the benefits of it and then the details and logistics. This is a slightly different strategy and will need to be a topic of another blog post!
  • Now, pass around a physical sign-up form for your free consultation. I actually put dates and times right on there and have people put their name, email and phone number in a time slot (and after the class, follow up with each person to confirm via email!).
  • Bonus tip: If for some crazy reason you don’t already have everyone’s email address from when they signed up for the class, make sure you get them at the end of the class. Many people will NOT sign up for free consultations, but you will still be able to add them to your email list so they can get to know you through your newsletters over time and reach out to you when they are ready (this is how you grow your tribe!).

Your Turn:

  1. What is your opening statement for this stage (feel free to lift mine)?
  2. What are you inviting people into at the end of your class? If it’s a free consultation, what is the program or package you are offering in that consultation?
  3. What benefits do people get out of your free consultation?
  4. How do people sign up for your free consultation?
  5. What forms do you need to create to pass around during this time?
  6. What is your follow-up plan for people who sign up for free consults? What about for people who don’t sign up for free consults?

And . . . Back to the Beginning!

I told you it’s a cycle. Here we have another ceremonial SEED at the moment of transition: a simple and brief “thank you for being here” (or a mind-altering closing meditation, whatever works for your business).

And now you’ve planted the SEED with your students for their next evolution around the wheel.

And finally, tweaks for taking your class to the phone or online:

  1. First, you don’t need to do a “webinar,” per se, especially if you are intimidated by the technology. Start with a regular old conference call line. Easy and free!
  2. Phone and online classes are better at 60-75 minutes. Engagement is much harder when people are alone with their computers and not in a room with other people.
  3. Skip the icebreaker in SPROUT, but do announce people’s names as they arrive if you have that ability tech-wise. In place of the icebreaker, I simply use an energizing statement: “Alright everyone, you ready to dive in? I’m excited to start!”
  4. I teach the BLOSSOM stage all the way through with no Q and A if I’m online and hold all questions until the Q and A section. Q and A throughout a call can feel disjointed (it can live too, and it’s important to maintain a balance of you teaching, but also not ignoring important questions).
  5. One way to add some interactivity on a call is to give people 15-20 seconds to journal or think about a question you ask. So at least they are interacting with the material, even if they’re not interacting with another person.
  6. The POLLINATION moment can literally be a deep breath together to let the information sink in.
  7. When you are doing anything interactive on a call or online, you want to tightly facilitate it. Some technology helps a lot with this! I use technology where people can raise their hands with their keypads and I call on them, or they can type in questions. I love MaestroConference as far as phone technology goes.
  8. During your offer, on the call, direct people to your consult application page or scheduling tool and encourage them to sign up right now for a free session with you. You can let them know you have XX spots this week for consultations to give it a little urgency. 
  9. Do the Q and A after you make the offer. This is because many people will drop off the call as soon as you’re done teaching and not stick around for Q and A. You want them to hear the offer, and then they can stick around and ask questions if they have them.

I hope this post was helpful!

It’s such a joy to teach and learn in this model, and I’ve found it very effective in my business as well.

 

Julie Wolk is a business coach comWebsite-Closed Smilemitted to helping purposeful entrepreneurs slow down and tune into nature and themselves to find the clarity, strategy and systems to grow profitable businesses they truly love and enjoy! For 15 years she’s guided talented visionaries to manifest the success and impact they desire. People love her down-to-earth approach and that she takes into account the uniqueness of each person she works with. Find out more about Julie and her work here: juliewolkcoaching.com

Be More Repulsive

 

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A simple, counter-intuitive idea for you today.

You’ve likely been told the importance of niche in marketing. Likely you’ve heard this from myself. You’ve likely heard about the importance of honing in on who you want to reach, to identify your ideal client, chosen audience or target market and maybe even to create a client avatar.

And those are all fine ideas.

But I want to suggest something you might not have considered doing before.

And, until the other day, I hadn’t either.

One of the central roles of marketing is to not just get the attention of your ideal clients but also to make sure you filter out the clients for whom your work will not be a fit in the same way that a window screen allows fresh air in but keeps out the flies.

And so we’re told to write all of our marketing material with our ideal clients in mind. We’re told to write our marketing materials as a sort of letter to them and only them.

And I think that’s good advice. I think it handles 95% of the issue of filtering.

But I’d like to give you an approach to writing sales copy that is the icing on the cake.

Step One: Identify your nightmare client. Get clear on who you never want to work with. Think about all of the worst clients you’ve ever had all rolled into one. Take 20 minutes to map this out a bit.

Step Two: Pick a sales letter or your homepage.

Step Three: Read the sales letter as if you were that Nightmare Client and ask yourself, “Would reading this repel me?” and, if not, rewrite the sales letter so that this person would never even think to call you. Make your materials repulsive to your Nightmare Client, not just attractive to your Ideal Client.

If you’re tired of emotionally needy clients, you might decide to say, “I’m not your mother. I’m not your best-friend. If you’re looking for someone who is touchy feely and who will hold you while you cry for hours and listen to your stories, I’m not it.” Or you might say the opposite, “If you’re looking for a nuts and bolts tactician, that’s not me. I’m here to hold space for your emotional process.”

You might say, “I’m a fundamentalist Christian and so, if my speaking Jesus’ name offends you, then you should stay away.”

You might say, “If you a building a business in the mining, tobacco or oil and gas industry, don’t come to my marketing workshop. This is not for you. I don’t want your business to succeed.”

And you might say all of that less directly but in a more implied manner. I’m not suggesting you intentionally be rude or offensive, but I am inviting you to consider a new level of candour that your ideal clients would love and that your less than ideal clients would be actively repulsed by.

You’ll figure out how but, I can promise you that this will make your sales copy better.

Additional Reading:

Get Rejected Faster