Guest Post: How to Raise Your Rates Naturally AND Feel Good About It

By Julie Wolk 

Warning: Long, detailed and very useful blog post ahead.

Do you cringe and shake your head at even the thought of raising your rates? And yet you secretly wish you could do it? But then don’t feel like you can? Or should? And so you give up on it, or keep postponing it ’til later?

You are not alone. So let’s talk about it.

Pricing is a complex subject, and one that we could tackle from many angles, but today I’ll focus on how communicating the true value and results of your work is one of the best ways I know to raise your rates and feel GOOD about it.

But before I dive in, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

There’s a good chance (especially if you’re a woman) that you at least sometimes doubt the value of your work. You may even feel like an imposter:

“Who am I to charge this kind of money?! There are so many people who are better than me at this.

You may find reasons even after you’re already earning good money, for why you’re work still isn’t that valuable:

“Oh, they would have done that on their own, they’re so awesome, it wasn’t me, I just encouraged them a bit.”

I’m calling bull*%#@.

Now let’s be clear . . . I am NOT a fan of that whole “charge what you’re worth” thing. I don’t think we should even joke about putting a dollar amount on our self-worth (ugh, how damaging).

But, we do need to charge people for what our services are worth, and more specifically, we need to charge for the results we provide to our clients.

And I have a feeling you are providing some amazing results. Yes?

Now, if you are just starting out, and you truly don’t have a lot of experience, I am NOT saying to start charging “premium prices” right off the bat. You need to do this with integrity, and charging less when you’re just starting off in order to gain experience and testimonials is A-OK.

But let’s say you’ve been at this for a while, and frankly, the clients you have (even if they’re not as many as you want) LOVE the results they’re getting.

But you’re not charging enough, and you know it. Or people have even told you you’re not charging enough, but you’re still scared to pull the trigger.

Ok, so here’s my advice:

Stop Selling Your Time (and Your Modalities) . . . and Start Selling Results

It’s typical for a coach, consultant or healer to charge by the hour for their specific modality or area of expertise (coaching, massage, leadership training, etc).

But there’s an inherent problem with this: you can only charge so much for an hour of work, and there’s only so many hours in a day.

But even more important than that, how much transformation can you actually create in an hour?

Here’s the thing: Along with their full participation, you’re creating change for your clients through your work. It’s not about how much time they spend with you, it’s about the results that happen through your work together.

I heard somebody say once that she was charging by the “a-ha,” not by the hour. Love that.

Everyone comes to you with some desire to change something, am I right?

You help them change it in the process of working with them. Right? And usually, it happens over the course of some time, not in one session. Right? (Not that you can’t do great stuff in a session, but longer-term challenges usually require longer-term solutions).

So when you can clarify your target audience’s problem and the specific results that they can expect when working with you, potential clients are way more likely to dive in and work with you.

Because they did not come to you for your time, they came to you to help them change something in their life.

But the problem is that you’re probably not communicating all that well about how you’re going to help them make that change, and thus you end up feeling timid about charging a higher rate for your work.

BIG TIP #1: Talk About Results

In your marketing copy and in your sales conversations, speak FIRST about your work in terms of the transformations, results, or benefits that people get from your work. Talk less(or later) about how you do things (all your 10 different modalities or whatever), or how many minutes you do them for, and instead address their problems, and speak to how you help them solve them.

For example, you don’t go to a career coach to be deeply heard and held in a safe spacefor 50 minutes (although that is lovely stuff, and you may let them know about that lateron in your marketing copy), you go there to figure out what you want to do with your life.

And, I don’t go to acupuncture to get needles and moxa for 75 minutes, I go there to heal my shoulder pain – it honestly doesn’t matter to me whether he uses moxa or not (what the heck is moxa anyways?). And frankly, I’d be psyched if it took less than 75 minutes!

So especially if your current marketing copy is oriented around your modalities or HOW you deliver your work (“I offer 60 and 90 minute sessions of coaching or consulting”),when you start to orient around results and transformation (I help you find a new career!), people can finally see what your work is really worth to them . . . they can see the VALUE (finally!). And they will pay for it if it’s what they need.


BIG TIP #2: Package Up Your Work and Take Them on a Journey of Change

Since it’s pretty hard to get the aforementioned results in one session, package up your work into a program specifically designed to help your target audience solve a specific problem they come to you for.

And when I say package, I’m not talking about 10 sessions for the price of 8.

I’m talking about designing a robust offering with a set price that includes:

  • A certain amount of sessions over a fixed amount of time, perhaps including an extended/in-depth introductory session,
  • Your availability in between via email or text,
  • Additional guides, trainings, or resources to help them on their journey,
  • And any number of extras that will help them achieve the result they came to you for.

This type of package costs more than the individual sessions, because it provides better results. You are taking them on a journey of change.

When you package up your work into a program that focuses on getting a particular result for a client, you can raise your prices and feel good about it. Why?

Bottom line, you will get more and better results for your clients.

As you know, real change takes time. Imagine having three or six months to work your magic. You think you would feel more confident about getting results for people? You think you would get more done? Plus, packages support you to offer your best because they allow you to relax into your craft, instead of worrying that each session be a total revolution for your client (so much pressure!).

Not to mention all the other benefits of offering packages including the fact that you have to do less marketing because you need way fewer clients to make a good living.

How To Set Your Initial Fee

Ok, so let’s say you’ve got this shiny new package now (and if you don’t already have one, you can start super simply, just as I outlined above).

And, you may be afraid to put a big price tag on it. I hear you. It’s very important to be able to get the words out of your mouth without choking when you’re talking to a potential client.

It has to feel good in your gut.

So we’ll do a gut check.

But first . . . find the number that equals the cost of the sessions you are offering added together (based on your current rate), plus about 20-25%. So if you usually charge $125/session, and your package is 8 sessions over two months, your minimum charge for the package would be $1200.

Now for the gut check. You can do this as a guided visualization:

Imagine someone handing you a check for the package they are about to begin with you. There’s a number written on that check . . . what is it? Does that number resonate with you? How does it feel as you accept the check? If it feels right, great! But see if you can make the number a little higher and still feel good. Visualize another $100 or $500 added to that number. If it feels uncomfortable, try to notice whether it’s a good edge . . . bold, but right-on, or if it truly feels too high for where you’re currently at in your business journey. Do you need to lower it a bit? Add a little more? Breathe into each number you try until you find the one that feels just right (kind of like Goldilocks). What’s your number?

A Fun and Organic Way to Raise Your Fee

If you know me at all, you know that I am all about an evolutionary, natural approach to business.

We are constantly learning, adapting, growing, changing, and putting something new out there and going ‘round the cycle again. Business (and life) is not linear!

But most of us have gotten stuck at least once because we think that if we decide that something is a particular way, then it’s that way forever.

The reality is that there’s always room for evolution and change. Nothing’s permanent.

You can change your price every single time you offer your package if you want. Really?!

Yes, really. That’s what I did when I first started my business, I swear.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Do another gut check. Dream into the price you ultimately would LOVE to receive for your package, even if it’s a ways off until you believe you can actually charge that much. Let’s call it $1800.
  2. Settle on your first price (using the method above). Let’s call it $1200.
  3. On your next consultation call, offer your new package at $1200 (remember, this is a number that feels good in your gut NOW so it should not get stuck in your throat).
  4. As soon as you get a new client at the initial rate, commit to raising your rate a little bit. Maybe it’s $100 more for the next client. It gets easier after someone says YES, trust me.
  5. Or, depending on how much experience you have, you may also decide to do three (or whatever number) packages at the $1200 rate, and then up your price by $100.
  6. Eventually, you’ll get to $1800, and it will feel awesome.
  7. And of course, you can always offer payment plans.

It’s that simple.

It might take a year to get there, but you’ll slowly get more and more comfortable asking for a higher rate . . .

  • As people say YES to your package,
  • As you work with more people and gain experience and get better at what you do,
  • When you’ve tweaked your package and added more cool stuff to make it even more effective,
  • As you witness the results that more and more of your clients are getting,
  • And as they write the testimonials to prove it.

You can do this. Start small and go for it.

Just remember, your expertise at helping people solve their problems is VALUABLE.

JulieWolk_Hollyhock15Julie Wolk is a business coach who helps hard-working  consultants, coaches and healers slow down and build super-streamlined, burnout-free businesses by modelling them after the way nature works.  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. juliewolkcoaching.com

10 Min Video: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your First Retreat

Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life is one of my dearest friends and colleagues. She’s offering up a new program called Your First Retreat which is designed to help people in the personal growth, coaching, and healing fields nail their first retreat so that it’s fulfilling and profitable.

I asked her if she’d be willing to record a video and do an interview to give people some ideas they could use right away. And she agreed to doing both. I hope they help you out in figuring out how to make your first retreat (or maybe your next one if your first one or two didn’t go so well) a success.

What’s the story of this program/product? What did you notice was missing that had you create it?

After running successful retreats for 4 years in my business, I had people asking me all the time how to do it – and I remember being at that stage, having no idea where to start, being nervous about whether or not I could pull it off, and wasting a lot of time and money learning. I wanted to create an all in one resource for people who want to run retreats and want to save themselves the overwhelm, the lost $$, and the uncertainty, and help them plan transformational retreats without a hitch.

Who, specifically, is this program designed for? 

Anyone who wants to run boutique style retreats with 8-20 people – life coaches, creatives, health coaches and wellness professionals, energy workers etc

They already have a business (even if it’s new-ish!) and want to incorporate retreats into their business model as a new way to connect with clients. They need to already know their niche and have a few paying clients in order to get the most from this course.

Your First Retreat is specifically for people who want to create an amazing experience for their clients while turning a profit, not who are out to make 6 figures form retreats (because that’s not how it works!)

Why is this program relevant to those people? 

Your First Retreat will help alleviate the fear and overwhelm that comes with starting to think about retreat planning, and will help them make sure they create amazing experiences that also turn a profit.

There is SO much to know, and you don’t know what you don’t know when you’re starting the planning process. The course takes the guesswork out of retreats and helps makes sure you don’t make some of the common mistakes that can lead to lost $ and crappy client experiences.

What are the top three blunders you see people making in running retreats?

1- Not planning far enough in advance – this will leave you scrambling to find a venue that still has space, rushing to market and fill your retreat, and making the whole process way more stressful than it needs to be. Give yourself 6 months for a local retreat and 12 months for an international retreat to start the planning process

2 – paying too much out of pocket (and then losing money) – You do NOT need to take on the risk of losing money you’ve put down for your retreat. Don’t pay anything yourself – pre-sell your retreat and use that money to lay down any deposits, and be clear about the refund and cancellation policies of your venue before paying anything

3- Packing the itinerary either too tight, or leaving it too loose – how much group + workshop time you include depends on what kind of retreat you are running and what you have promised your participants. For example, a business-focused retreat will have more time together working and coaching, and a more experiential adventure style retreat won’t have as much. Too much packed in will leave people overwhelmed and not able to integrate what they are learning, and too little and people are left wondering why they paid such a premium for this retreat when they could have just gone on any other vacation. Nailing the retreat itinerary is important!

What are your three big ideas around making your first retreat a big success?

1 – Give yourself LOTS of time to market – it’s the hardest part!

2- Don’t plan a retreat too early in your business. You need to have people to market it to in order to fill it! if you can’t think of 5 people who would say YES to it right now, take some time to build your network and/or your email list, and wait before you start planning anything.

3 – Have a clear focus for the retreat – people need to know what this retreat is all about and whether it’s a fit for them, and if you’re not clear on that, they won’t be either. Knowing who the retreat is for, what the purpose is, and having a string mission statement will help make sure you get the right people there with you – and having the right group is what will take your retreat from good to incredible for your participants (and for you!)

Can you share a couple stories of retreats that have gone well and what can be learned from them?

1. My first retreat in Belize was amazing! We had been telling people for a while that we were going to start planning a retreat, so both my and my co-leader’s audience were primed and ready when we launched. This made it easy to sell and we sold out fairly quickly! This taught me that having an audience to sell to is hugely important to make sure you sell out and don’t lose money! This could mean an email list, a super engaged FB group, a local network, or just a lot of colleagues friends, and peers that you can sell to who you KNOW would be interested.

2. My friend Kira ran a retreat in Italy that I attended and it went off without a hitch. It was a life-coaching retreat focused on single women/relationship coaching, but it also had a strong focus on just having FUN on a cool vacation with like minded people (it was called the “Let’s F*cking go to Italy Retreat”). We’d have casual but smart conversations about love and dating after breakfast in the morning (while sipping teas in a beautiful villa in the mountains), and then head out adventuring for the rest of the day. The balance of free time to group time was important here. No one was there to have a heavy coaching session everyday and that was never the purpose of the retreat – but keeping the vibe on point with how it was marketed, everyone knew what to expect and got exactly what they came for. It was great!

Why is this program credible? Why should they trust it or you to help them?

I’ve run my own retreats for 4 years now with huge success, and for this course, I also interviewed 25 other successful retreat leaders to gather their best tips, marketing strategies, and advice, as well as the real scoop on how much profit they have made from their retreats, and blended it all into one easy to use manual that will teach you everything you need to know.

I also include an interview with several other experts to help beef up the course where my expertise was lacking — a lawyer who helps clients with retreat contracts (and as a bonus included one in the course for people to use!); a hotel manager and event coordinator who tells you everything you need to know about booking venues; and a Facebook ads expert who shares some amazing knowledge about how to best use Facebook for selling your retreats.

Who, specifically, is this program not a fit for? 

It’s not suitable for someone who doesn’t have a business or a business idea yet. Retreats rely on you having already built an audience (but I do give tips for getting there is someone is just starting out. But it will not help you figure out what business idea you should start.

It’s also not for someone who wants to run a retreat/travel agency business (ie. multiple retreats a year as their only course of income), or someone who wants to run large, conference-style events.

*

If you’d like to learn more about Rebecca’s program you can click here (affiliate link) or here (not).

 

Guest Post: How to Sell Out Your Conscious Event

by Brenda MacIntyre

When you create an event, it’s really great to have people actually show up for it, right? But sometimes that doesn’t happen. How can you set yourself up for a great turnout at your events?

I’ve been singing for over 30 years and speaking for about 18 years, and in that time, I’ve witnessed and learned some great (and some not-so-great) approaches and I’ve come up with my own ideas as well, to inspire people to come out and enjoy what I have to offer.

I have a regular monthly Drumming, Singing & Tea circle in Toronto. It’s always at the same venue, always on a Monday evening, and always at the same time, unless I’m having a special dinner in which case it’s an hour earlier. I’m not talking about your usual speak-to-sell events, just to be clear. I find those kinds of events manipulative and high pressure. I’m talking about events where you gather with your tribe to bring them an actual experience, with a low-pressure offer (book, CD, course or small program) that you casually mention at the end of your event.

My intention to fill it is less important than you might think, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t manifest well when I give myself artificial meaningless “goals” of how many “butts in seats” (I really hate that term from the coaching world!) I think I have to get to my events.

It’s important to use energetic/spiritual strategies as well as solid marketing methods that work and feel aligned for YOU and your tribe.

Here’s what I know…

1) Grow your tribe and reputation. If you don’t have anyone to sell tickets to, who is going to come? Grow your following and not just in one place. Grow your email list as well as whatever social media platforms you love to use. Letting yourself be seen and heard online and in person goes a long way in event promotion. The best way I do this is by speaking or singing at other people’s events, and just doing good work to help my people. That never goes unnoticed but word of mouth does take time to grow.

TIP: If you don’t have a big following yet, call up your friends or send them an email and ask them to spread the word. See #8 “Word of Mouth” below. Abraham-Hicks started out with very small events and now they get hundreds of people out. That didn’t happen overnight. When I did my first workshops and performances in the 90’s, I used to call people up and then send an email. When your following gets bigger, you won’t have as much time for that personal touch, so do it NOW if you don’t have a huge tribe yet. You know how many people appreciate you reaching out one on one to them? It’s a far cry from those automated voice messages or someone’s assistant calling you to promote their event to you. It just feels better to hear from someone personally. You’re showing your people that you care.

2) Work out your logistics EARLY, and make everything about the event and promotion as easy and low pressure for yourself as possible. Based on how many people I want, and how hard (like, not hard at all!) I want to work at selling tickets, I have chosen a venue for my monthly gatherings that limits seating to only 12 people plus me and 2 volunteers, for most of my events. I have also created an arrangement with the venue that allows for me to still run the event even if I don’t sell lots of tickets, and even to have snacks and tea included for each person. This makes my events appealing and people know they have to sign up in advance if they expect to get a seat. Of course, if you’re trying to sell out an event, you need to set up a way for your attendees to purchase tickets in advance. I always have an early-bird savings and then a different rate for cash at the door if there are any seats remaining.

For larger events, like my annual The Power of Your Spiritual Calling LIVE with a music concert, DJ’ed ecstatic dance, keynote, drumming circle and oracle readings, I need to choose a larger venue and strategize slightly differently. For larger events, it’s good to start promoting a lot earlier and to ask friends and colleagues to help you spread the word, whether informally or by sending out an email or social media. You can make it simple or create a whole affiliate package. You can offer bring-a-friend-for-free to people who are already on your bandwagon as well like Tad did recently for a special private event he hosted in Toronto. That creates more loyalty in the inner circle of your tribe, and it expands your tribe and brings more people to your event easily.

3) Figure out your timeline and start earlier than you think you need to. For my monthly circles, we start promoting the next one immediately after the last one. Also, learn from my mistakes: If you’re promoting a large event, FOCUS your marketing on that event. I made the mistake of having (and promoting) too many events in the same month and that dilutes your marketing efforts, making it harder to sell out your event. When I’m focusing my energy, attention and intention on one event at a time, I get a great turnout.

4) Put your energy all over it. I’m always telling my clients to “put your energy all over it” when writing any copy or talking about your event. People will feel your passion and your passion will drive you, as well as the Universe, to support you in getting people to your event. By the way, make sure your energy is in a good place first. Breathe. Smile. Do whatever it takes to feel good before you write your copy.

5) Don’t try to do it all alone. I’ve done that and it is HARD WORK. Do you want to add more hard work to your plate or make things smooth and easy? Ask friends, family or members of your tribe to volunteer. Delegate promotion techie tasks to a Virtual Assistant. Automate whatever you can online as well. Otherwise, you can burn yourself out.

TIP: Collaborate with other co-hosts, artists or vendors who also have a following, and have them promote the event too. For my The Power of Your Spiritual Calling LIVE event in 2016, I had Liz Diaz DJ the ecstatic dance portion. Liz is awesome, already has a tribe brimming with her own people and some of mine, and we play well together. In 2015, I had Erica Ross DJ for me. I call her the Dance Goddess. She’s also a dear friend and awesome DJ. So find people to play with, who align with you and have a similar tribe.

6) Ask your Higher Realms Support Team to help bring people to you. Angels, Archangels, your Higher Self, goddesses, gods, God, Creator, Universe, Source, whatever you want to call it, invite them to help you. Never underestimate the power of energy and Spirit.

7) To intend or not to intend? Like I mentioned in #3, when you set up your event structure the way YOU want it so that you have the least possible worries about money loss or no-shows or not getting enough tickets, then your whole being can relax about having to sell out the event. That relaxed, no worries vibe? That will help sell the event! So set your intentions and give them over to your Higher Realms Support Team… and still, do the work you know you need to do.

WARNING: Many coaches will have you do a “bubble chart” or some kind of countdown to your hoped-for number of attendees. I have found that that doesn’t excite me but does the opposite, especially if I don’t see seats being filled as quickly as I had hoped, or if I have created a history of not getting the numbers I wanted. Then I felt like a failure and the energy of that expectation and how I felt created a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I stopped doing those charts and did what I mention above in #3 instead.

8) Do pre-sales or a seat deposit: If you don’t get advance tickets, you can expect that probably more than half of your RSVP’s will not show up. Unfortunate but true. Most people won’t commit to coming out to your event without having to pay in advance, especially if you live in a place that has tons of events unless your event is free. If your event is free, you are likely to attract people who are used to getting things for free or as cheap as possible, so be mindful of your decision around pricing. Use your own website and shopping cart or something like Eventbrite to sell your tickets. I like using my own website because of course, it brings people to my website.

9) Create a Facebook Event page OR Meetup.com page. A word about Meetup.com. If you are an official Meetup organizer, and you want to grow your following specifically on Meetup, the Facebook event page needs to lead them to the meetup page. It is more tedious this way, and honestly, I have found that using one or the other is best. Use one and draw everyone on social media to that page for best results.

For Facebook Event pages, invite people in your local area first. Do invitations in rounds. Facebook may block you for “using this feature too fast” if you do your invitations all at once or if you go over something like 100 invitations. Facebook will also penalize you by lowering your invitation limit, so you can’t invite as many people, so be mindful when using this feature. You might want to ask influential friends to invite their friends too.

Whether using Facebook or Meetup, don’t take people’s RSVP’s at face value, except for the “not coming’s.” You will see that often only a small fraction of those who say they’re coming, actually pay in advance and show up. Even if it’s a free event, your attendee numbers most times will not be anywhere near your RSVP numbers. Don’t take it personally.

Most of my sold out events when using Meetup were exceptional (special indigenous venue and content) and also free. If you grow your Meetup following into the thousands, then it can work well for you. I didn’t have the patience for that.

10) Networking. Talk about your event! Talk about it to your friends, family (supportive people only, of course) and whoever you meet. Not in a gross promotional way but rather with the genuine passion and excitement you have about it. No need for flyer-in-your-face marketing, okay? Just talk about it and if people ask for a flyer or your card, give them one – but also get theirs, and ask their permission for you to either add them to your email list or message them about your event(s). Especially talk about your upcoming event at events other than your own where you are a speaker or facilitator. They’ve just seen proof of how awesome you are on stage or in a workshop, so let them know about your next event.

11) Word of Mouth. Tell your most loyal fans FIRST about the event, and ask them to share it. I do that using my Virtual Backstage Pass email list specifically for Toronto events. Invite them first on the event page too if they are on Facebook. Tad does Word of Mouth extremely well, so just pay attention to how he does this so effectively. I learned from the best. ;)

12) Send Email Invitations according to your timeline (usually at least 4 weeks out). This is when I send out my first Backstage Pass email, alerting my most loyal Toronto fans, usually BEFORE I even invite people to the Facebook event page. Then we send out email to the main email list. We also include a small blurb in our monthly newsletter. I like how Tad sends out personal email invitations to a handful of people over Facebook or email. That personal touch goes a long way, above and beyond a mass email to your list. It’s best to do that with people whom you know will be happy to share your event with their friends, and you can ask them to do that. What NOT to do? Please don’t copy/paste a generic “come to my event” message into Facebook or email and pretend it’s a personal message. I just received a couple of Facebook messages like that and they didn’t even say hi or ask me how I’m doing or indicate they even knew what was up in my world. Make it personal! Be real. Have a conversation.

13) Regular Social Media Posts and Engagement. Post wherever your people are hanging out. Do a mix of auto-posts and personal posts. Note: If you post nothing but promotional posts on any social media platform, you will turn your tribe right off. Don’t do it! It’s about being social, so socialize with your tribe. Engage them in conversation regularly. Then when you go to promote something, they’ll be more likely to pay attention, like, comment and share it.

TIP: This may sound funny but “like” your own Facebook posts. Liking your post will give it more weight in the eyes of Facebook’s algorithms, so it will be shown to more people right away, rather than sitting there lifeless and not getting seen.

14) Last but not least, be someone you’d like to hang out with! When you show up in real life, on social media, over the phone, on Facetime or wherever as someone who is fun and interesting to be around and learn from, people will want to be in your energy. When you do that in places where your tribe hangs out, you will attract people who are aligned with you and they will happily come out to your events.

brenda-macintyre-9962-squareABOUT THE AUTHOR

Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre, author and artist of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards™ & Music, is a Juno Award-winning singer, speaker, indigenous drummer and wisdom-keeper, and Living Your Truth Out Loud Mentor. Brenda has shared her leadership and soul nationally on stage and in the media, such as MuchMusic, APTN, CTV, CP24, Global and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as CBC Radio. Having experienced major loss, multiple dark nights of the soul, and fear of being seen and heard, she is passionate about helping women to stop holding back, share the power of their gifts, and create success out of the mess of REAL life.

You can connect with Brenda MacIntyre here: 

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When to invest in your business?

40330571 - closeup of woman hand planting seeds in soil

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

10486824 - traditional malaysian loom detail

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.

***

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-08-40-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-08-40-pm

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!

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-07-57-pm

 

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.

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

My 41st Birthday: Messages Welcome

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Today is my 41st Birthday.

I’ve been doing this business for ten years solid (with five or so years of here and there before that).
 
It’s a strange endeavour to be involved in.
 
I travel around, teach workshops, lead online programs and do some occasional work with people one on one but I’m never sure what the impact of the work has been long term. What stuck? What seemed like a good idea to me but ended up not being? What brought in paying clients? What helped someone shift direction in a positive way?
 
The truth is it’s rare that I find out.
 
And so, on this first year into my fourth decade, I’m asking. If you’ve received some benefit from knowing of my work or engaging with it directly, would you leave some words telling me the story of it below? How did you hear about me? What was most useful? How did you apply it? What happened?
 
There are three ways you can share your experiences and testimonials (ranked in my order of preference):
 
  1. Write me a review at Coach EXP. There’s a video on the homepage that will lead you through how to do it. This could mean a great deal to my livelihood as this is becoming the Yelp.com of the coaching industry.
  2. Post it as a comment on my Facebook page or this blog post.
  3. Reply to this email and send me a personal note.
As my way of saying thank you for evening considering this, I’d like to offer you 41% any of the products on my website.
 
You can find them here.
 
Just select the products you want, click Add to Cart and then enter this code: BDAY16. It’s good til Nov 6th at midnight Alberta time.
 
warmest,
Tad

Play the Long Game with Your Sales Copy (and get more clients)

Guest Post by Ling Wong

How do you feel when you come across pushy sales pages with big red headlines, yellow highlighters and blinking arrows pointing to the “buy now” buttons?

(You know what I’m talking about . . . the “if you don’t buy you’re an idiot” kind of energy.)

40544993 - abstract geometric background. abstract geometric pattern on green background.A one-way conversation? A trapped audience to a monologue by a narcissist? Being yelled at? Being talked down to? A 7-year-old who can’t make a sound decision on her own?

You wonder if these “persuasion mechanisms” are truly effective. You surely don’t like being talked to that way . . .

Then you look around and see all those “internet marketers” who gloat about 6 or 7-figure launches using these tactics. Hmm, they must be effective, right?

(What they didn’t tell you is the refund rate, and the burn and churn . . .)

We’ve been told to twist the knife, add salt, and make the pain more urgent than a tornado warning; to pull the triggers of fears and scarcity; to stir up a sense of inadequacy; to make the potential buyers feel like crap.

We’ve been told that people are indecisive. They don’t understand their problems. We need to push them into making a decision we *think* is the best for them. (What a big ego!)

Deploying some sneaky “persuasion” techniques may get you one sale, but it’s not going to win you friends.

How many “info products” are sitting on your hard drive collecting dust because you were pressured into purchasing by sales materials that pulled some fears and scarcity triggers?

How does that make you feel? If you didn’t use the product because it doesn’t resonate with you, then you didn’t get results. Would you go back to the same business to buy more stuff?

Moreover, if you had a bad experience with these high-pressure tactics, you probably don’t believe in them whole-heartedly.

If you don’t have 120% conviction in what you say and do, how can you expect others to be convinced?

Now you’re Tad’s peeps, I assume you’re not selling some once-and-done cantaloupe widget to make a quick buck.

“Selling” deep, transformational work requires that we build trust and credibility with our community. It’s about connection and relationship.

It’s a long game. Pushy burn-and-churn tactics won’t get you there.

On top of that, I want to think my peeps aren’t stupid.

I prefer to give my clients some credit and trust that they have the ability make a decision that best serve their interest.

Let’s start by changing the assumption:

What if indecisiveness is NOT our nature?

What if indecisiveness is our reaction to what’s presented to us?

What if indecisiveness is an indication of insufficient relevant information?

What if indecisiveness is just one way of saying “I’m not fully convinced about the value of the product or service, and its relevance to my circumstances”?

Would you make a major decision without first gathering information and educating yourself on the subject matter?

Imagine you’re a caveman and you want to grind up some mammoth meat… Someone tries to sell you a food processor without any context, explanation or demo. You scratch your head and continue to pound the meat with a stone.

Sure, the food processor is the right tool that’ll give you faster and better results. But if you couldn’t link the problem with the solution, the solution is not relevant from your perspective.

I know, we’re all complaining about “information overload” and you’d wonder if feeding people more information is going to make them buy.

The answer is, yes and no.

No – they don’t need more “raw data” that’ll further confuse the hell out of them and throw them into analysis-paralysis.

Yes – they need a curated, logically presented set of information that links their problem to a proposed solution, from a perspective that resonates with their worldview.

This is particularly important if you’re delivering “deep” benefits and profound transformations.

You’ve to connect the “symptoms” – what triggers your potential clients to look for a solution and therefore land on your materials – with your services.

There are probably some intermediate steps between their complaining about the problems, to understanding the cause of their challenges, to connecting their problems to your modality.

They may need to be “initiated” into your world, learn a few new terms or concepts to interpret and articulate their challenges, before they can fully grasp the value and transformation you deliver.

Bridging this “knowledge gap” can make your sales materials more convincing while winning hearts and minds without being “pushy.”

Essentially, you’re incorporating the premise of Inbound and content marketing into the sales materials with a laser focus on connecting the dots between the symptoms and the solution (aka what you’re selling.)

It doesn’t have to be complicated. A few paragraphs of “educational” content on your sales page can make a world of a difference.

While providing valuable information, your content should answer these questions:

What do your readers need to know about themselves/their problems/you/your approach etc. before they can decide, one way or the other, whether your products and services are of value to them?

Is there any misconception or disinformation you need to address, so they’d stop shooting in the dark and get support from an expert (you)? 

Do you need to alleviate any fear about following a new process or around the changes working with you may cause?

How can you help them fill in the blanks and make a decision so everyone can move on? (Loose ends = energy drains, no bueno. 

Remember, “decision” can mean a yes, or a no. We’re presenting one side of the story to trick people into saying yes. Our responsibility is to help them take the action that best serves them at this moment in time.

Here’re a few extra tips when writing this content:

  • Keep it short, simple and focused. Don’t navel-gaze, don’t launch into your entire 6-years of Reiki training or turn it into a self-gratuitous spiel on gluten-free eating. Make sure everything contributes to helping the readers make an informed decision. (Informed decision = less buyers’ remorse = less refund + happier customers).
  • Understand where your audience is in relation to your area of expertise. E.g. you don’t have to dumb down the content if your ideal audience already has some basic knowledge. They’d think your products or services are not for them if your content is too “basic.” Educational content doesn’t mean beginner level knowledge. You could be addressing misconception or highlighting what they don’t know, which leads to poor or inconsistent results.
  • Incorporate your own point-of-view and convictions – they probably resonate with those of your ideal clients’. We all develop shorthand and make assumptions about the world based on our beliefs and experiences. If you could tap into them and use them as a common starting point, then you don’t have to start from zero and build more resonance right off the bat.
  • Tap into your ideal audience’s identity and inkling. Speak to an identity they’re already aspired to. Affirm what they believe to be true (of course, only if it’s in alignment with your approach,) rather than trying to strong-arm them into being a different person in just a few paragraphs (hint: you’d lose.)

If you ever found transitioning from talking about the readers’ pain to talking about your products or services to be somewhat awkward, I’ve good news for you.

This piece of educational content is also great material to transition from the “I hear you and I identify with you” piece to “here is my stuff – benefits and features” portion of the sales copy.

It changes the energy behind the conversation to one of providing value. You’ll feel good about it. When you feel good about how you sell, you sell more because you’re putting the right energy behind the act of “selling.”

Contact Ling Wong at: ling (at) business-soulwork (dot) com

Ling Wongimg_3672-199x300 : Intuitive Brainiac | Copywriting Alchemist. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching/consulting with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, 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 WEBSITE COPY ALCHEMY video here.