Category Archives: Grow Your Business

Are You Ready To Experience Powerful Brand Clarity?

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6 Step Training To Help You Confidently Build A Brand and Become an Industry Authority.

The way business is being done is rapidly changing. I hear stories of stress and overwhelm that confirm it whenever I talk with entrepreneurs, business owners, and other bold leaders. The old methods for brand building, design, marketing, and customer service, just aren’t simply working in today’s busy business marketplace.

Thankfully, there’s a clear way to stand up, stand out and stand firm against the competition—and you’re invited to learn the building blocks of a bold & sustainable brand. In my new Bold Brand Landscape training, I’ll be revealing the steps to help you clearly identify keys to being unforgettable while unleashing your true brand potential!

CLICK HERE to Start Your FREE Brand Training

The Bold Brand Landscape training walks you through the 6 steps to clearly and confidently build a brand that lasts. If you’re looking for a sustainable way become unforgettable, level up your business and create enduring value, this training will help you.

What Can You Expect to Experience

Here’s some of what you’ll be exploring inside:

  • We’ll talk about discovering the most overlooked, yet most influential part of brand clarity.
  • We’ll talk about how you decide who will (and who won’t) elevate your business.
  • We’ll share how to continue to improve and sustain as a top-notch, relevant authority for years.

But this only a bit of the abundance shared. Over the course of the ten email course, The Bold Brand Landscape covers everything from your purpose to your legacy, positioning, brand awareness, story, and more. Here are the 6 steps that each include subcategories that you’ll learn:

  • Discovery – a lesson on how unique and special your brand can be.
  • Alignment– a lesson on how to integrate and align your solutions.
  • Position – a lesson on determining your unique qualities to make the most impact.
  • Bridge – a lesson on making your brand come alive.
  • Experience – a lesson on leaving your mark on your customer’s heart.
  • Innovation – a lesson on being relevant and valuable year after year.

This learning will transform way you see, think and take action in your business. How can you join and experience powerful brand clarity?

Getting This Training Is Simple

To explore these informative lessons, all you need to do is join The Bold Brand Landscape training here, it’s completely free and conveniently online.

Read and study when and where you want. Since the training is email based, you don’t have to worry about specific day, time or travel. I’ll send you the training periodically in order with time in between each training to absorb and reflect on the information. Easy, free, and tremendously valuable!

But don’t wait. The Bold Brand Landscape training has become increasingly popular and I don’t want you to get left behind. Also, we’re consistently bringing out new things and I can’t guarantee this high-impact training won’t go away soon.

CLICK HERE to Start Your FREE Brand Training

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The Truth About “Opportunity Costs” and Entrepreneurship

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“Opportunity costs” seem to be synonymous with entrepreneurship.

And living your purpose.

I, myself, used to think of it even worse…I called them, “The Lesser-Known Debts of Entrepreneurship
Why is that?

Why do we always think there has to be a loss in order to gain?

Call me an optimist, but I think it’s more than just being optimistic (more on that later). Perhaps it’s this “costs” perspective alone that leads to the high failure rate of entrepreneurs. Or even why we have so much fear to begin with. We’ve all been there before…

  • The fear of not being good enough
  • The fear of missing out
  • The fear of what others think
  • The fear of the unknown
  • The fear of change

We could talk fear, and struggle, and pain and problems for what seems like forever. At least, that’s what we see portrayed in the media. I can pretty much guarantee you’ve experienced it on social media more often than not.

Why is the opposite so rare?

The Truth About “Opportunity Costs”

If happiness is a choice then why can’t we look at this situation the same way. Instead of thinking about the “opportunity costs” associated with building your dream life, why not consider the “profits of possibility”?

What if you could decide?

Just like happiness, it’s a choice. Right?

Well…you CAN!  Let’s look at this a little further.

As I write this blog (fending off writer’s block) the NFL season is kicking off (I LOVE football!).
It would be easy to think as though missing game day (while I write) is an opportunity cost.

And it’s not just the game others would tell me I’m missing.  I could say another cost is missing the relaxing down time on my couch. I’ve heard many colleagues say they miss time with friends and enjoying their favorite beverage at their local sports bars.  That could be another cost of me writing.

According to them…On a Sunday, the day of rest, never the less.  I’m “grinding” through work.

I don’t think it’s a grind at all (at least not 95% of the time). Actually, it’s designed that way on purpose.

I made the decision.

You can TOO.

The Profits of Possibility

Now what are the profits of thinking about what’s possible?

Here’s a few:

  • There are so many benefits of writing alone. Just in a few years as a professional writer I’ve experienced improved personal clarity, professional credibility and have even received a significant financial return for it (both directly and indirectly).
  • Looking at the profits and possibilities instead of the costs could continue to shift my own outlook on life leading to less stress, more happiness and even fulfillment.
  • The possibility that this one piece of written work could change someone’s life, improve a business or transform someone’s mindset.
  • That business or individual could go on to buy my programs or services in which helps to take care of my family, invest in my business and cultivate the retirement portfolio I need to enjoy a retirement of family time, travel adventure and more.
  • That individual or business I just mentioned could go on to solve a major world problem, changing the trajectory of life for millions of people.

Just writing these and reading through them again, there’s an energy that comes with living out your ambition and having the right motivation. Instead of the emotional drain of costs, profits and possibilities ignite that fire inside. It rekindles the natural desire to BE more, DO more and GIVE more.

Your deep personal and professional convictions come alive.

And it all comes with viewing things as possibilities rather than problem; profits rather than costs.

The Truth About Entrepreneurship

There is no wrong path if you know where you’re going. There are only different ones.

Sure there are fundamental principles and best practices. But, how you apply them and when and what you emphasize in your business can vary in any number of ways.

I’ve seen clients and colleagues make it happen all in different amounts of time, with different skill sets and a variety of processes. I’ve experienced it myself.

Your journey right now may seem long with some fun peppered in.  Another individuals may be exciting, but grueling.

The variables of success are many.

It’s not just about optimism. I wish it were that simple, but it’s deeper than that.

It’s a belief in self, faith in other people and a tenacious commitment to something previously unseen.

It’s more than pursuing your passion or chasing your dreams.

And it’s all in cultivating possibility.

Entrepreneurship is a deep conviction that something extraordinary will happen.  Being an Entrepreneur is about creating what could be rather than thinking about what the costs will be.

Costs are not fun.  Live on the other hand should be.

Life is about believing in what is possible.  And Entrepreneurship should be a fun and purposeful path to get there.

If you BELIEVE in profits and possibilities more than costs, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it cultivate this belief in the minds of others by emailing this to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Thank you!

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How to Unlock Where Online Your Content Will Thrive

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You’ve spent precious time, energy and other resources creating content, a blog, video series or audio training, with some of your best ideas.

You feel accomplished and you’re stoked for it to catch fire online. This one’s going viral and you know it.

You post it everywhere and wait. Then…

Crickets (ok, well maybe a couple website visits and a few social media “likes” if we’re lucky).

What happened? Why?

Maybe you just have to be patient, consistent and persistent. You’re audience will come around then.

Right?

But maybe something is missing. Maybe you’ve overlooked something.

Because when you know your stuff, write a great post or shoot a killer video it should spread like wild fire…at least that’s what you see with your favorite marketers, experts and thought leaders.

Promoting Content Online

What we often overlook is that content creation is just one part of the equation. You have to promote your content as well. And you have to do it well. Let’s look at how to unlock where your content will thrive online.

Stand In Your Brand– What’s your brand purpose? What does your brand promise? What’s your brand persona? What are your brand skills and strengths? Understanding these help cultivate a brand voice that’s consistent and influential. Knowing your brand will help you decide where you and your content will thrive.

This is the priority for showcasing your content in the best light. Although video is a hot content medium currently, if you’re no good on camera then YouTube, Facebook Live and Instagram stories could be detrimental to your success. Start with narrowing down what you’re good at (better yet, great at) in order to WOW your audience.

Persona Precision– Get very detailed with your customer profiling and buyer personas. Very specific demographics and psychographics can help you define your audiences interests, where they spend their time, people they follow, characteristics the relate to, needs they have and ambitions they want to fulfill. All these and more can be powerfully informative.

Such as…Do they prefer to read, listen or watch? Will they favor short and quick or long and thorough? Is it information or inspiration they want? Or are they ready for implementation and integration? Know them so well that you’re practically in their head.

Priority Platforms– Promoting everywhere is great, but not until you’ve really fine tuned a core 2–3 platforms. Even focusing your efforts on one until you have a streamlined and effective process can be more beneficial than being spread too thin. These platforms should be the places where you excel as well as where your audience engages frequently.

Always take into consideration the elements of each platform. For example, if you’re a great writer then you’re potentially benefit better from platforms that have a publishing element or if you’re talented behind the camera then engaging on platforms that have video elements may be best.

Also consider groups on platforms. Although some platforms aren’t great in general they may have topic specific groups that have extremely engaged audiences. Take this into account and choose the spots where the audience engages both with the content as well as a community.

Catalytic Content– Decide the type of content relevant for your audience. It’s very important to take into account all of the above in order to determine what content works best where and when. Knowing your buying cycle and where each audience is on that cycle can help you in deciding the content type that will have the greatest impact.

Understanding, who, where and when will ultimately impact what content will be best. It could be the difference between a quick, simple infographic for one audience on one platform or a researched and thorough report on a different on. Learn even one of these and you’re ahead of the masses just throwing stuff up on social media.

Share with Your Subscribers– Don’t forget your subscribers! You can’t believe how often I work with businesses so focused on trying to bring in new customers that they forget about the audience they already have. Your subscribers should be your primary audience you deliver content to. Send them it directly first, package it or re-purpose it in a simple and valuable way.

A Newsletter with best monthly content is always good or a weekly “What You Missed” e-mail works great too. Sending a quick blog summary with a link back to the original is a great way to increase traffic to your website. Find ways to share the variety of content you create with your subscribers without bombarding them (every audience is different).

Seamless Strategy– Be strategic first!!!! Take time to really think these things (and others) through. If you’re just throwing things at the wall, hoping something sticks, the odds are you will waste a lot (too much) time, energy and resources. On the other hand, do not over analyze and become paralyzed. Find the happy medium and take action.

What is the goal of your content promotion? Is it to generate brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation or selling your products or services? Define your strategies, take action and be consistent.

Test, Track and Measure– Things don’t always go as planned. Actions must be taken to know if things are off in your strategy. Remember, every business is unique, every audience is different and the platforms and markets are constantly in flux. You may think a platform is perfect, but get zero traction. You may believe an audience will be massively engaged, but they’re not. And you may create what you believe to be the perfect piece of content, yet it gains minimal traction.

Be willing to explore. If you’re not getting traction test new and different platforms that still fit the above criteria. You never know when you’ll find a gold mine. Test, track and measure everything to find what is truly working in your business and for your audience. Invest in and leverage the technology and outsourced help when possible.

Where to promote content doesn’t have to be a guessing game, nor an uphill trek. Be clear, be strategic and evaluate your work. You’ll find a spot, if not several places, where your great content will receive the love it deserves.

If you still have questions, feel free to leave them below in the comments section or join my subscribers community and shoot me a message.

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4 Helpful Ways to Support a Friend and Authentic Entrepreneur

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It’s always inspiring when see friends doing work they absolutely love. The passion for what they do has a type of magnetic energy that radiates off of them. Their genuine commitment to create meaning and impact lifts up the heart.  You’ve felt that right?

Whether they’re fighting for a cause, solving problems for others or contributing to the local community the work they do is special. We may even feel pulled to help, but how do we do this? We can’t buy from every friend who’s doing something amazing. And they can’t all be selling something I want or need. So how can I show my support?

First, as a husband, father and Entrepreneur myself I understand that it’s difficult to even consider what more we can put on our calendar.  But, the more I meet truly authentic colleagues, friends, and fellow entrepreneur the more I want to show how I support what they’re doing.  More importantly, how I want to see them succeed.

I also know that I’ll need (and hope for) consistent support myself as I grow in my business. How do we create this synergistic support?  I’ve found four helpful ways with examples below. What’s great is that you don’t need to spend a ton of time or money in committing support.

SUPPORT THEM PASSIVELY

Like, share, and comment on their social media. Support does not mean a big time commitment.  It can literally take seconds to show you care for their pursuits.  A quick social media like, share or comment can go a long way for your friend.

If you know this is a person of high integrity and their insight is valuable click like, make a brief comment or share. For online entrepreneurs, every like, share, and comment matters no matter what social media platform you’re on.  You don’t have to endorse anything they’re selling.  Instead, make a brief comment about the type of person or professional they are.

Maybe their content isn’t the best thing to share in your Facebook feed.  Don’t dismiss it.  Would it be great for LinkedIN, Google+ or a topic specific Group.  Share it where it will benefit others.  Organic growth via social media is very difficult and any support is not only simple, but helpful.

Plug them into your network. The previous point was all about reaching more people and how their stuff could help others. Although potential customers are very important to the entrepreneur we don’t want to limit our thinking to only potential customers.

We also have plenty of friends, family and colleagues who have their own interests.  Which ones just might be aligned with what your friend is offering? Take a few moments to think about who’s in your network, has similar interests and connect them.

If I wasn’t given these opportunities myself, I would’ve missed out on not only clients, but partnerships and job specific skills. I gain a lot from these (and others) from being plugged into someone else’s network. A quick e-mail or phone introduction just may be the beginning of a long term, rewarding work relationship. That’s powerful support.

Support them with your other resources. Just like you, entrepreneurs are loaded with responsibilities and time is of the essence. What other resources do you have that could help them learn, improve and grow faster. We all have experts we look up to, podcasts we listen to and authors we recommend. It might be a video you see or a conference you hear about that they’ll enjoy.

You never know what resource at what time will create the shift they need.  Many of the events, programs, books or coaches I’ve bought were recommended to me by friends and colleagues. It could be a simple direct message, email, or social media share when you stumble upon an article, app or product.

Anything that can shorten the learning curve is always appreciated.  These little supportive gestures can keep motivation up because they know someone else cares about them and their cause.

SUPPORT THEM ACTIVELY

Give them your attention and honest feedback. Feedback is invaluable for entrepreneurs. It helps provide perspective to mistakes, weaknesses and blind spots.  What they may not catch themselves may be an area of need you have experience in.

Ask them how you can help or simply offer to look over marketing materials or proofread a blog.  Feedback from a trusted friend or colleague allows them to ask deeper questions they don’t often get the opportunity for. You’d be surprised at how helpful a few minutes of your time can be.

Your help could save them extra time, money and embarrassment. Catching a few content mistakes could help them acquire new subscribers. A couple quick suggestions on their sales pitch could generate a new client. Any gift of time and feedback could be potentially game changing for them.

Read, listen and watch their Social Media posts. If you know the dynamics of social media for business then you know just how much of a pain it can be to gain traction and grow organically. Any increase in engagement, such as clicks, likes, views, shares and comments, on social media could have many good residual effects (that’s a whole book in itself and ever-changing) for their business.

For instance, their content is viewed as more valuable by search engines and social media platforms alike. This leads to greater reach as we spoke of, but potentially leading to more subscribers, leads, revenue and profits. Reading, listening and watching will take a little more time investment on your end, but also gives you the opportunity to give more valuable feedback that we just talked about.

If you create content yourself then it can also help you create ideas for content, share valuable perspectives with your audience or ‘partner” by sharing their insights or endorsing them publicly. I’m sure your help will be much appreciated and reciprocated.

Subscribe to their stuff. What we get to see on social media is not fully in our control, so subscribing to your friends groups, newsletter and e-mail list can make it much more convenient, especially if you like what they offer. Most of what’s shared on social media is content already sent to subscribers so it should also make it easier for you to like, comment and share their social media content when you see it.

I know the thought of more email seems like a crazy idea, but wouldn’t it be nice to get something other than mail we dread in our inbox? If you’re not going to read it then by all means don’t subscribe or direct it to a folder that you’ll read when you get some free time. Or simply create a “support” folder for those you choose to support, but only read an e-mail occasionally to catch up on their business.  If you’re a subscriber then it’s easy for them to see that you’re supporting them.

Write or record a testimonial. Social proof is big in business and taking a quick minute to write a genuine testimony is not only an excellent way to support a friend, but to let a friend know how they’ve impacted you and others. Endorse them as a professional or the products and services they provide.

Your words can be used in a variety of ways in their business or shared across their platforms helping increase their credibility in the marketplace as well as showcasing their specific individual talents.  This is a very powerful position of support

Help them out on a big day.  Entrepreneurs could always use extra hands and skills on event day. See when, where and how you can help out. Whether it’s behind the scenes or in the midst of the action your help will be much needed and appreciated. Work the registration table, set up or break down or take detailed process notes or data tracking. All of it and more will be needed.

There are more ways to help than you can think of, or that they can probably think of themselves. The more minds and hands the more complete the event they can provide and the more value they can provide their audience.

Think about what skills you or your network can offer and ask or tell them you want to help. Everyone will be able to provide valuable feedback and perspective before and after the event that can later be improved and refined for future events.

SUPPORT THEM EMOTIONALLY

Understand their commitment to authentic purpose. Entrepreneurs are often criticized for their selfish pursuit of independence, autonomy and financial freedom; many times by those closest to us…family, friends and colleagues. Before you jump on them, ask and listen to why this pursuit is important to them.

For most of them, it’s their calling.  This path is genuinely something they find fun, interesting and meaningful. There is a purpose behind it, they’re good at it and they’re committed to making a dent in this arena. It’s almost like play to them, they can get lost in it for hours and not think twice about it.

Value the rare find of having a friend who is committed to not just finding their passion, but creating a life of fulfillment, even a lasting legacy, through purposeful actions.

Celebrate Their Successes. Wins are few and far between for entrepreneurs. Any win is huge, especially early on. If you see or hear of one of their wins then let them know about it, tell them congratulations and share it with others.

Let them know how proud you are of them sticking to it and pushing through all the ups and downs. The more they know that people are in their corner the easier it is to carry the burden of tough times as a start-up or during a hefty project.

Comfort Their Emotional Needs. Success can switch to struggle in an instant in business. The workload can be new, heavy and stretching all at once, even altogether overwhelming. The average day is rarely what we expect it to be…technology can crash at the most inopportune time, we may get “crickets” on our live stream, a potential or current client could say “no”, and our monthly webinar may only get three registrants.

As stressful as it is when things don’t go as planned we can be crushed when things go well, but go unnoticed. In both instances, your friend may need a high five, a hug or a shoulder to lean on. Whatever their struggle entails having support can give them a lift emotionally.

SUPPORT THEM FINANCIALLY

Refer them to potential clients. Financial support is always a bonus, but as you can see there is so much more you can provide other than your money. By supporting in any or all of the ways above you are able to understand your friend’s universe even more and perhaps see just how much love, effort and work it takes.

You’ll probably also be able to see just how much they care, support and work to truly make a difference for their audience and clients. Once you do referring their services will seem like nothing, but to them will mean the world. It may take a few seconds to a few minutes to endorse your friend to a potential client and they’ll be forever grateful.

Don’t Accept Their “Family & Friends” Discount. Insist on paying their full price. If you like their stuff don’t look for a discount. This will not only help you truly value their work, but it also creates a lasting moment of creative and emotional validation about the value they provide for others. It’s a true confidence boost.

Paying less can devalue their work, and even worse they could be taking a financial loss. This could lead them to physical and emotional burnout and a dip in morale and service; which is just bad for everyone involved. Paying them what they’re worth limits what I call “impulse promotion”. That type of promotion driven by excitement or regret of “getting a steal”.

These types of promotions have minimal effect in that it had nothing to do with the product or service provided. Any integrity based entrepreneur will want honest feedback and you paying in full will only assist you in giving feedback that will truly help them.

Gift others with their stuff. If you don’t like their stuff for yourself then maybe you know someone who would benefit from it, but they won’t make the investment themselves or can’t make the investment. Purchase your friend’s stuff for them and gift it to them. Talk about a win-win across the board. That’s a relationship deposit for both friends, a gift for one and support for another. Now that’s a lesson in supporting friends.

Be a low cost supporter. Maybe it’s a product or event ticket, maybe it’s supplies or a needed tool, maybe it’s sharing your staff, assist or storage space. Maybe it’s sponsoring a portion of continued education. There are many ways you can offer support for little to no cost to you that may be useful and cost effective for your friend? Entrepreneurs need all the support they can get. Ask and offer them early and often if possible.

Support is something we all want to get and give, but it’s not always possible. Share how you’d like to help and can help as well as what you won’t or don’t want to commit to. Be clear and up front so they are clear. Believe me entrepreneurs would rather not waste time and energy asking people who would rather not (or don’t show up when they said they would).

Ask them to be specific about what they need so that you it goes both ways. Supporting your colleague’s, friends’ and family’s business ventures can be easy and rewarding. Utilize these keys to make it beneficial for all parties involved.

How do you support your business focused friends? Will you be one the people they’ll never forget when their dream comes true? Are you a fellow entrepreneur or business professional? How would you like to be supported by your family, friends and colleagues? Tell us in the comments.

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Don’t Envy the Competition, Respect the Customers Decision

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Every day is a battle to earn business as an entrepreneur. That’s why it’s called, “The Grind”.

Day in and day out we create, give and share in hopes to gain attention, interest and a deeper connection with potential customers. And every day I get reminded just how much competition there is in this business.

The internet loves to show me just how well my competitors are doing. The five, six and seven figure success stories roll through my social media feed hourly. I’ve even seen how quickly my audience, customers and clients can be swayed and switch from my community to the “other guys” (or gals).

Did you feel that…The confusion, disappointment, and anger?

Perhaps it’s envy you feel?

OUCH!

Yeah it hurts, when the time, energy and resources we give to building a relationship doesn’t go our way. It feels as though we’ve failed…ourselves, our families, our employees, even our customers. It’s easy to beat ourselves up, get pissed at a lost prospect and feel jealous towards our competitors. I’ve fallen victim to this many times (can you relate?).

Truth is…the customer is right.

Here’s why you should support and respect the customers decision:

The Competition is Better– You cannot fault your audience for recognizing a competitor who has better skills than you. Truth is we all have mad strengths and bad weaknesses. In this round of competition your opponent just happened to shine a bit brighter than you did. Although we may perceive this as a bad thing. The great thing is…their success is showing you there is room for you to get better.

If you’re brave enough, I recommend you hire them. Yes, I said hire your competition. This is an excellent way to shorten your learning curve from someone who’s been there, done that (I’ve hired several over the years, Michael Hyatt for platform building, Jennifer Kem for marketing, Kimanzi Constable for writing and Marty Bhatia for productivity). Own your deficiencies, work to make improvements, and you’ll see you’re not even close to your “glass ceiling”. You’ll realize that much more is possible for you, your business, your pocket book and those you’re soon called to serve.

The Competition is Different– Sometimes it has nothing to do with being better at all, talent is a dime a dozen. Instead, how you are unique can be what wins your customer over. How many times have you heard a client tell you, “You’re just different then others” (Or something similar). We all have something special we offer to the world and this gift is experienced by each person in a distinctly different way.

We can’t be everything to everyone and you shouldn’t try to be. If your competitor wins a client because they’re different don’t think as though you’ve lost a client, instead support others who bask in blazing their own trail. And you keep blazing yours.

The Competition was Aligned– Entrepreneurs easily get caught up in the mentality that being better or being different is what wins. We believe these factors alone are what win more fans, followers and paying customers. Simon Sinek shares in the book, Start with Why, that customer’s also make their decisions based on what you, as a business, believe.

Customers will choose the business that aligns best with their values, principles and purpose. If that’s your competitor, respect them for choosing a business with depth. Don’t get so caught up in winning that you lose sight of your “Why”. Build a business of meaning and impact first, the winning will follow your truth.

The Competition was Complimentary– Although you may feel you and your customer are on the same page, alignment isn’t always what your customer needs right now. Acknowledge that your competition provided complimentary services to their skills. If you’re open to helping others, then help them. Even if it means giving your competition a customer.

Be conscious if someone else would be the right fit for your customer. Connect them to someone in your network that you know and trust. When your customer is stuck, your decision to guide them rather than “sell” them may be just the light they needed. They will never forget you helped them. Ever.

It’s not the Competition– It’s tempting to beat ourselves up, have a negative reaction and envy other’s good fortune. Just like you and I, customers base their decisions on a variety factors (both rational and irrational). Paulo Coelho once said, “Know that the universe is conspiring in your favor, even though we may not understand how.” You may never know why a customer truly went elsewhere and you don’t need to.

Respect the customers decision wasn’t only about you and your competitor, there could have been any number of other reasons for their decision. Keep living your purpose, meet the demands of reality, and take action towards achievement. You will be found.

Here’s how I see it…my competition may win a customer, but we all win if I give respect, support and love. It’s NOT a zero-sum game. It’s a game of possibilities.

What can we win when we choose to lift each other up?

I challenge you to explore, advocate and innovate. Come together. How can you support and respect your customers decision in a way that continues to help others, the community and the world?

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Ambition: A Blueprint for Next Level Success…Every Year

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Imagine fearlessly pursuing your dreams. Despite those “hating on” your ambitions you tenaciously set out to explore the landscape, solve the tough problems, fight for important causes and leave a dent in the world. No matter the day, you wake up energized and enthused to navigate the rugged terrain. When everyone else is hitting a wall you’re able to ramp up and stay productive. And the moment your competitor loses motivation you separate yourself with unwavering drive.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” -Mark Twain

The trailblazing entrepreneurs, trendsetting business owners and inspiring leaders have learned and understand the value of ambition. Although many others often view ambition in a bad light it does not constitute a character flaw. It’s a trait with positive, long-term implications for both individuals and organizations.

Ambition has shown proven returns in career success, organizational growth and economic and social value. Here’s how you can use it for long term success in your business:

  1. Be Bold– Stop playing it safe all the time. It’s time to level up. Instead of wallowing in the status quo step up and step into your fear. Do something challenging – individually, collectively, – that makes a difference. Do innovative, courageous things to achieve your potential. Transcend the norm (most of which is mediocre) and push yourself. Learn the landscape of building a bold brand; one of enduring value. Once you understand the terrain choose a journey that will stretch you daily, testing your will, endurance, and perseverance.

DOWNLOAD The Bold Brand Landscape HERE

  1. Envision Victory– Thoughts are things. The mind is arguably the greatest strategic tool we have. Use it to bring to life what you imagine to be possible. Craft a sustainable strategy with a success mindset. Pull together your aspirations, capabilities and strengths to produce your distinct competitive advantage. Train your brain to recognize risks, see opportunities (this doesn’t mean be stupid) instead and execute. Go for it. Play to win.
  2. Grow Resilient– You, like a muscle under tension, can grow from stress. Recognizing your stress threshold is a make or break point. Be mindful of your edge, walk the line and tests your limits. Train yourself to work well under pressure without overwhelming yourself. Create environments (your internal environment too) that boost resilience, decrease stress and improve performance. Set milestones that scare you a little bit, and lean into your fear.
  3. Believe in 10x– Humans, in general, think much too small. It’s not your fault, it’s an instinctive mechanism in our brain to keep us feeling safe. Most will conform to this and cultural norms. Despite the difficulty to define what it means to be a high performance company, I challenge you to think limitless, believe in possibilities and realize your potential. Think in the top 3% and above (whatever that is for you). Ask yourself what can be done? What hasn’t been done yet? And what can I do to bring this to life?

Ambition is often viewed as selfish, greedy or excessive. Ambition, however, is more far-reaching and flexible. It doesn’t reduce us to selfish, materialistic desires; it bends us and expands us for the greater good. Ambition is rarely just about oneself. It is an integration of unselfish contribution and personal growth; created not without courage, sacrifice, and failure.

Explore your ambitions, shape them and be grateful despite struggles. Free the desire to succeed and the willingness to strive for each achievement with an unbridled spirit. Feast on the fruits of virtue, wisdom and serenity. Find the insight and strength to control its blind forces. And you’ll have not only a great year, but both a life of true distinction and a lasting legacy.

Don’t forget to Download The Bold Brand Landscape: 6 Steps for Being Unforgettable and Creating Enduring Value

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How to Overcome Procrastination and Build Your Dream

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What makes people procrastinate?

What makes us dig in and grind for hours (perhaps weeks or months), then veer off course the moment we gain some momentum?

What makes us dream about achieving goals, wanting what’s at the finish line and yet, frequently, falling off track and beginning something else?

It turns out procrastination is similar to a mixed martial arts fight. The moment you let your guard down it kicks you in the head, putting you in a daze and scrambling to get back on plan. Increase awareness, take heed, reassess specific tactics and you’ll be able to overcome procrastination.

Maybe my example sounds a little extreme. My point is, procrastination isn’t just an innocuous habit; it’s downright harmful to you and your business. And it’s a daily fight, beating down your success and knocking out big dreams.  Let’s do something about it.

Make Things Fun & Purposeful

Remember when you graduated college and ideas of what you’ll do in the “real world” started swirling in your head? Remember how you couldn’t wait to start or join the company of your dreams and do work you loved? No matter how hard someone told you it would be, it didn’t matter…you were going to make it happen.

Although we’re all a bit more naïve when we’re young, this enthusiasm is exactly what we have to stir up inside. Choose a journey that lights a fire inside you. People whose path lacks passion leads to a commitment crossroads. Without an meaningful vision to excitedly pull us in the right direction, we find ourselves doing things we dislike, even hate. Procrastination is born.

Take a moment to consider each of your days…are you trail blazing or merely grazing through life?

Don’t Forget Physiology

Procrastination can strike just when you think you’re getting things in order. React the wrong way and procrastination grows. Our excitement falls, confidence flails and we’re more inclined to try and “feel good” now.

We then find ourselves scrolling through the endless inbox, grabbing a venti latte, or giving in to our impulses.  We’ll choose anything that gives us instant gratification. As distractions, guilt, and fatigue increase, procrastination follows.

Taking care of yourself is the answer. Proper exercise, nutrition, and rest can be catalysts for excelling under time constraints. Nourish the body and brain effectively and you not only create a stress fighting machine, but you can better manage your emotions when the stakes are high. Prioritize your health to keep energy, resilience and stamina high.

Regulate Self-Regulation

Every time we give in to procrastination we create cognitive dissonance and lose a little of our dream. Our procrastination grows. Our guilt, our excuses grow and our reasons to believe wittle away.

How we cope with procrastination is different for each individual. Track your thoughts, reflect on your feelings and gain constant feedback from your behavior. This self-regulation can help.

Self-regulation begins by developing a high level of consciousness. We “watch” ourselves as much as we can to learn the problem, define a strategic solution and make a change.  We would love to have the discipline to do this all by ourselves, but as a procrastinator, discipline isn’t our best suit.

Find a trusted mentor, coach or group of colleagues from which you can gain constant outside feedback. This type of insight and perspective can be invaluable for targeting keys to self-mastery.

Monitor “The Weather”

The perfect storm of procrastination will hit you when you’re innocently minding your own business.   When unpleasant tasks, powerful impulse and waning self-discipline begin to intersect it can be a destructive weather front.

Life is filled with many storms. The most threatening ones come from our own self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. They can flatline energy, kill productivity and debilitate us emotionally.  They’ll erode your success.

Find the unpleasant tasks, top distractions, impulsive behavior, mood killers and circumstances where self-discipline fails.  Monitor these, take appropriate actions and you’ll be delighted by the opportunities that arise when the winds change in your life.

Deliberate Practice

Knocking out procrastination isn’t easy, but you can’t do it without practice.  Focus, energy, commitment, persistence and just good ole faith are great tools to help; all of which must be developed and honed in order to overcome old habits.

Every skill you study will show in continuous improvement. Defined strategies. Proven solutions. Everything you need for life-changing achievement.

Don’t go at this alone, get your spouse on board, find a “training” partner and the right social support to propel real progress.  Remember procrastination isn’t simply about habits, it’s a deeper game; one in which you must master your mind and mental practices just as much as your actions. Find the right coach to constructively collaborate and speed up behavior change.

Forgive Yourself

“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves to get well and move on.” –Unknown

That’s an incredible piece of advice for conquering procrastination. And it’s some of the best success advice…ever.  It’s powerfully wise, yet much more difficult than making excuse for ourselves.  It is much easier to deflect than to own our inability self-regulate and manage negative emotions.

Without forgiveness we become our own worst enemy.

Get away from short-term, instant gratification.  Don’t give into the “feel good” strategy.  Take the road less traveled…be honest with yourself, own your mistakes and use self-forgiveness as a future growth strategy.

Fulfill Your Dreams

When procrastination strikes, don’t beat yourself up. Hang on to your passion. Stick with your plan. Forgive your faults and get out there and fight. Lead with purpose and have fun doing it.

Procrastination is tough and hard to beat. But with dedication and commitment you can take back control and fulfill your dreams.

Where are struggling to overcome procrastination in your life and what excuses have you found yourself using?  You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Online Business by Connecting with Your Audience

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When growing an online business (or any business), especially a start-up, there is so much going on it’s hard to know what deserves priority. I’ve found thinking about building your online business like you do building a friendship to be a very helpful. Let me quickly explain, when you initially meet someone the relationship is a little awkward, until you find something that you both have in common or connect on.

Business is similar, however I recommend you be a little more strategic.  Start with a some deep introspection to better clarify what your unique talents are. Then you can think about that all important connection point where your unique talents insect with a very specific type of person who would be interested in learning what you know.  It’s this intersection point that kicks off the initial first impression and you work to build the relationship from there.

Sounds fairly simple right? Then why do we have such a difficult time acquiring new business? 80% of entrepreneurs fail…yes, four out of every five.  I don’t want you to end up like this so it’s important to understand you can’t attract the attention, interest and desire for your services without building an audience.  More importantly, relevant, engaged, and valued relationships with them.  Here are 5 steps to improving your business through connecting with your audience:

1. Share Good Stuff- When we first meet a potential friend it’s almost a natural instinct to impress so we share our most interesting or funny stories. We want them to feel excited to connect, welcome, and with a desire to learn more about us.

This is a great place to start with your content.  Share some (a lot is better) of your best inspirational and educational material.  Think about what would resonate with them the most.  What do you know well enough to help solve their current most pressing problem? What insight can you share to inspire them to take the next step? What content format would they most likely use to absorb it and help increase your credibility?

2. Listen to Your Audience- As you continue to share with your audience it’s time to shift your focus a bit.  It’s time for you to get to know them better.  You’ve done a good job gaining their attention, but now it’s important to create further engagement.  The best way is to listen and gather information they share.

You can continue to keep this process informal by asking powerful questions within your webinar or at the end of a blog or video.  Do this with a clear call-to-action to leave replies to in your comments section.  It’s then up to you to sift through the comments they leave on your blogs, social media posts or within forums.

You can also create a formal short survey and follow the above process or send it to your e-mail community & private groups.  I recommend keep it short (less than 10 questions) and simple and only ask what you believe will help bring more value to your audience in the future.  With good, engaging content your audience will often tell you what they want or wish they had before without even asking, however you have to have an open ear.  Listen to for your audiences frequently asked questions.

3. Find Their Attention Triggers- With an open ear you’ll probably recognize some consistencies as in your audiences problems, demographics and psycho-graphics.  If not, look for overarching themes related to their physical, emotional, social and logical desires. Themes can help you better pinpoint where and what is keeping their attention.

If you’re hungry to make a difference then you’ll want to target the same places they spend their time and money.  These places have either a large number of potential customers or a very targeted group with a specific desire you know you can support.  Where is your audience spending their time online? Is it Instagram, an industry forum, LinkedIn, etc.? How are they getting answers to their problems or finding inspiration now? What mediums do they consume their information?

4. Choose an Intersection Point- The better you understand your audience the more clear you’ll become on where and what you can do to inspire and assist them.  The greatest point of connection will occur when you have a detailed solution to their specific struggle. This is typically the point where your best talent or skill intersects their current need.  This intersection point is a big bridge builder between you and your audience.

If you can deliver (over deliver is better) a simple, but effective solution to a nagging frustration then you and your brand just increased in value in their eyes.  At minimum, help them feel more confident and sense of progress and they’ll look into a further relationship with you.  Simply shoot to change the troubling emotional state that’s been bothering them and they’ll trust you more. Where do your talents help “close the loop” for your audience? When do they need this solution most?

5. Get Personal- If you want an audience to stick around for a long time then it’s important to get them to “plant roots” in your community.  Continue to add value, grow your relationship, and now find the way to their heart. In essence, be authentic and consciously, yet carefully share your personality with them.

Be the professional in their circle who they know, like and trust better than the rest.  By strategically sharing your values and beliefs, stories of struggle, how you’ve conquered goals, helpful insights along the journey and more you can help your audience better understand what you stand for.  Decide early what you’re going to share with your listeners, subscribers and customers.

Although getting your audience’s attention is very important, it’s even better if you can be the one who captures their heart.  Create a community they want to grow in and they will keep them coming back.  What’s an important value that will ring true with the majority of your audience? What story of struggle will help them better relate with you?

Moving Forward

A great business helps to make a difference in the community while sustaining a profit for continued growth and impact.  However, it’s extremely difficult to do so without having an audience that enjoys listening and learning from you.  That’s why building and connecting with your audience must be one, if not your primary focus when trying to improve the bottom line of your online business.

Many entrepreneurs succumb to fear, self-sabotage or a simply a lack of productivity.  Don’t be an entrepreneur treading water.  If you want to be and stay relevant then you must keep your online business moving forward. The truth is, if you’re not connecting with your audience in today’s fast paced market then you’re treading water and actually going backwards.

What do you do to keep you and your online business moving forward? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.

 

 

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2 Brand Building Strategies to Increase Credibility

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The right marketing tools will land you high dividends not only in profits, but in visibility and credibility. Finding brand building strategies that work for you in your business separate you from other experts and growing businesses. The faster and more consistently you pinpoint these the better, but where do we start and which methods are best?

There’s no perfect strategy or ideal tool for increasing leads and landing new customers. Remember, the market is ever-changing and adaptability is the name of the game as an emerging entrepreneur. Every market and each business has different dynamics to consider for gaining traction.

Nearly all variables come down to your ability to align your expertise, systems and solutions to your clients present needs and future desires. If you can find multiple methods for seamlessly integrating your customer’s problems with simple, effective solutions your business will steadily rise above others.

Writing for Brand Building

Blogs– Sharing valuable tips, tools and tactics consistently is the best way to grow your influence. Blogging is one way to build your authority, share your expertise and help others overcome problems. Each time your audience achieves a goal or simply feels a sense of progression you build a bridge of trust with them.

Posting regularly deepen your relationship by being the reliable expert with great stuff. Your consistency and their confidence in you brings a steady stream of traffic to your website, increase social shares, and acquires higher quality backlinks.  All of these improve your site SEO, moving you past thousands of competitors with boring, static pages.

Customers looking to hire industry and subject matter experts instantly head to search engines. Recent data shows 16+ blogs a month generates 3x more traffic than those posting 1-4 per month.  If you’re not much of a writer, consistency is the initial key and I recommend starting with a modest goal of blogging weekly and progress from there.

Publication Articles– Much like blogging, however you’re writing to serve the audience of an outside publication. Look both locally and online for places you know you can bring value to. Most importantly, choose publications that align with your values and target audience.

Look into newspapers, industry specific magazines and major publications. “Getting in” as a contributing writer can boost your credibility, increase traffic to your site (where you have plenty of great blogs to read) and land you some new targeted customers.

Research, write and submit an article that fits the desired publications style, guidelines and is helpful for their audience members and you may be calling yourself a writer soon.

Books– Arguably the most effective brand building tool is a published book. Becoming an author does take considerably more time and effort than blogging or writing articles, however with the rise of technology and self-publishing it’s easier than ever to access the needed resources.

Once published, as long as your book is up-to-date and relevant, you can leverage it in your business forever. Use your book to gain attention and interest on the front end promotion of a webinar, include it as a bonus within a new product package or sell it on the backend of any speaking engagement.

Don’t start writing until you decide a publishing method as each has it’s pros and cons. Once you pick whether traditional, hybrid or self publishing fits your business strategy, complete your book and leveraging it for both a credibility boost and revenue generation.

Speaking for Brand Building

Vlog– The video version of a blog is a great place to start if you’re good in front of a camera. Consider your audience preferences before you start shooting. If your audience absolutely loves reading then video may be part of your content mix, but not a primary strategy.

Video will help your audience not only learn from your knowledge, but they’ll have the opportunity to connect with you as a person. Video allows them to see if you’re the type of person they want to engage with, follow and later work with. If you’re not much of a writer or blogger you can record yourself speaking on a topic to help clearly share your message in writing.

Take some time to think about how you want to reveal yourself to the world. Decide your image, value and presence on camera. Most importantly, define how you want to serve the audience, the values and beliefs you stand for and what people can expect from you. Learn more about video and you will attract people to engaged in your content.

Speaking/Keynote– If you’re a credible expert and entertaining then speaking is powerful in expanding your brand influence. Being a speaker provides you the opportunity to share your message to the masses or instantly impact small, influential groups. This is especially effective if you have a distinct system or methodology you provide via product or service.

Speaking allows you to not only connect with people on a person level like video, but they get to experience you live. This kills any thoughts of how rehearsed, edited or phony (for the haters) others may think you are on video. If you have great stage presence, good with your voice and diction and come well prepared you can land high paying keynote spots; great for revenue and credibility boosting.

Overcome stage fright, know your stuff and avoid being a perfectionist and this strategy is prime to grow your brand. Practice by speaking anywhere and everywhere there is the opportunity to share with your audience. Raise your speaking game well enough and you earn opportunities influence the masses of the biggest companies and share the stage with top experts.

Audio– Audio may not sound like a speaking strategy, but ultimately it’s you sharing your knowledge behind a microphone. Audio options are great strategic tools for those who feel uncomfortable with video or writing. Live or recorded content is a great way to share and connect with your audience or subscriber list as you build your writing and on camera skills.

Create a plan and a schedule for an audio version of a blog to share insights and industry trends. Utilize teleseminars or screen cast webinars as a great way to offer value for free or as a revenue source. Lastly, you can do podcasts (as the host or a guest) to interview, learn and connect with other subject matter experts. This is a great way to find strategic partners.

To build a powerful brand it’s important to nail down several effective strategies for building credibility and influence. Although, these aren’t the only methods, it’s these two strategic staples that have stood the test of time for growing businesses.

Use them consistently and strategically for everything your brand needs to grow. Gain high impact with quick and relative ease from online video and publication articles. Or you can enjoy the long term effect and credibility explosion of putting considerably more work into books and keynote speaking.

Which of the brand building tools could benefit you most this year? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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6 Strategies for Sustaining a Success Mindset

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How do we know which decision (of the many) will be the game changer? Which choice will result in landing the perfect client, creating a market-shifting product or which partners will propel our brand influence to new heights? Throughout your career as an entrepreneur or not, there will be multiple opportunities to make “the right” choice, but how do you know what’s best for you?

Truth is you already know the answer. You know that no matter how hard you research, analyze and meticulously check every detail there is never a perfect choice. There are too many angles to evaluate and too many perspectives to consider in getting it all right. There is ALWAYS something we miss, forget or don’t fully understand.

But, there is an alternative. This uncommon track can lead you to health, wealth and success (whatever that is for you) despite any slips, stumbles, and struggles.

Broken Mindset

I started my first business in 2007 and it was reasonably successful, it paid the bills and made a little profit. However, ultimately it failed as I wasn’t fulfilled while on this journey. I tried a couple more times at this entrepreneur thing…once failing due to lack of revenue because of no defined strategy or systems and then because of an unclear brand and failed marketing efforts.

I lied. Here’s the truth. When looking back (hindsight is 20-20) I didn’t fully understand strategy, branding or marketing. Therefore, I couldn’t create the needed systems to win. That part is true. What failed me, however, was my mindset. It was essentially me failing myself. Here’s why:

  1. I was afraid to admit I didn’t know these skills or have the business expertise to get the job done. I wanted to look smart and successful.
  2. I was lazy and didn’t give the effort to learn and do what I needed in order to overcome my areas of weakness.
  3. I wouldn’t let go of other things (for instant gratification)I believed to be important to me.

My attitude, interpretation and response to nearly every important decision had failed me. I was living with what I call a “broken” mindset. All of these thoughts were fragmented instead of focused, pessimistic instead of positive and problematic instead of productive. I had believed I knew it all and all other feedback was useless. Luckily, I had enough emotional endurance and found ways to stop sabotaging myself.

Strategies for a Success Mindset

Growth and sustainability in business comes from being able to consistently push your own personal boundaries. Business performance is people performance.  For me, that wouldn’t have been possible without the following strategies for a success mindset:

  • Be Clear– There’s not much out there more influential to your growth and progress than specifically defining what it is you want. Take the time to explicitly paint the BIG picture of where you want to end up, the exact outcomes and the process to get there. You may not have all these answers yet, but get them as clear as you can and start now. Keep tightening up your clarity as you go.
  • Be Bold– You will know you are on the right path if you find yourself a little afraid and intimidated. This is a good thing to be aware of and then take the steps to move with it. Be courageous and step into your fear and resistance more often. Comfort with discomfort will build your confidence enough to take leaps instead of just single steps.
  • Be Open– If you want more in life then you have to open your mind to new learning. Open up to new perspectives, new angles, new skills, new people, new cultures, etc. The great thing about learning is that it can happen anywhere. Be creative and productive in this process, learn new things and you’ll soon experience evolution.
  • Be More– In my initial work with clients I’ll tell them to press outside their comfort zone. They often respond by telling me, “I don’t know, that’s not my area” or “I can’t do that, that’s not me”. I reply back, “Exactly!” There is always a next level you and if you want to get there you have to transcend your current YOU. Who you are now won’t get you where you want to go, you must become more. Who must you become to grow and give more?
  • Be Synergistic– Doing this alone may be possible, but there is a special magic that comes with having a community of people who are dedicated to supporting your growth and success. At minimum you should have a dozen people in, what I call an, “achievement alliance” or a group of individuals committed to helping you achieve the next levels in your life and business. Find people who are better than you, who will be radically honest with you and spend a lot of time with them.
  • Be Strategic– Before leaping into anything it’s always important to consider the possible pros and cons along the journey. Don’t make the mistake of only thinking about the initial ups and downs. Evaluate future outcomes and do your best to predict long term and short term problems, surprises and possibilities. Be smart by defining which of these align with your strengths and ambitions while also avoiding as much risk as possible (without losing efficiency and effectiveness).

“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”- Dr. Carol Dweck

No one else cares as much about your destination as you do. You are the driver of success in your business. You decide your mindset for living and fulfilling your dream.

No matter how ambitious a goal you have, your mindset will always be a big part of achieving it. Without the right mindset, the pressure of our work environment, fear about our finances and doubt about our skills can stomp out our personal and professional desires.

What mindset killers have you faced this week? 

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