Managing Overwhelm

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Home BusinessToday is Sunday and admittedly I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Not by things I have to do but by things I want to do and don’t have the time.

Is anyone with me?

Education for the Home Business Entrepreneur – Managing Overwhelm

Today I read this article by Mashable called 3 Phrases That Actually Make You Feel More Overwhelmed and I had an epiphany.

Basically the way you express your lack of time creates a bad mindset – which I totally buy into. Your mindset is the foundation that every business is built on.

The article says instead of saying, I don’t have time, I’m swamped, or I’m too busy – instead say that’s just not a priority for me right now.

Now here’s where the epiphany comes in -

What if you’re letting yourself off the hook from something that should be a priority?

I really think that saying something isn’t a priority instead of saying you don’t have time for it is a real good way to check things.

For example:

What if you said you’re too busy to do somethings that you KNOW will grow your business? Like those new projects that may bring new revenue into your business that you put on the back-burner because you’re too caught up in tasks in your business?

What if instead you said this -

“Growing my business isn’t a priority for me right now.” Let’s face it – that IS what you’re actually saying in reality.

Ouch.

The way you look at something changes it doesn’t it? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Tammy

 

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Complacency is Cancer

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growing a business

Take a moment of self-reflection. How do you take in information? Do you absorb it? Do you read it and think to yourself that you need to do it? Then a few seconds later the dog barks and you need to take him out – then the thought is lost? Do you revisit it? Do you just move on?

The entrepreneur that thrives in today’s world is the one that admits they’re guilty of being complacent and creates systems in their business (and lives) to defuse it.  They know that the key to growing a business is having the appropriate steps in place to avoid falling into complacency.

Let’s face it as human beings we’re not very proactive. We tend to react to things as they happen.

When we’re not getting what we need from our business, we realize that our ideal outcome will require a different mindset. However, perhaps we sometimes continue with the old mindset thinking that the circumstance will change, so we don’t have to.

The reality is that most circumstances will change but will evolve toward an even more complicated state versus the one we were hoping for.

We tend to not address things until there is a threat of some sort of loss or devastation. Does any of this sound familiar?

I’m about to share with you 7 tips that will rip the complacency bandaid right off!

7 Tips to Growing a Business in Confusing Times by Avoiding Complacency

1. Declare your purpose.

Can you clearly and quickly articulate why you’re in business and what your mission is? Having a very clear vision of what your purpose is in your business now and for the future will help you to stay focused and on track.

2. Have a clear competitive advantage.

What makes you stand out from your competition? How do you sustain the advantage? It’s important to know what makes you the best choice for your customer. When those qualities start to slip you should recognize it before your customers do. You’ll want to know that quality is slipping before  your customer realizes it and leaves you.

3. Be selective when it comes to clients.

Business is tough these days and sometimes we find ourselves being hungry for sales and taking on clients that perhaps aren’t…. let’s just say ideal. You may be thinking that you’re helping the bottom line but the outcome is very much the contrary! Bad clients cost more than they’re worth! They take up more time than they pay for, drain your profits, and can literally reek havoc in a business that you used to enjoy! When you’re unhappy and depressed guess what? You make bad decisions. You get more complacent. See my picture below? I’m hitting the bottle! Yep, been there – done that. (Click here to watch my YouTube video on firing bad clients.)

growing a busines

 

4. Have a clear marketing plan.

Operate inside a plan every day. How are you getting your message out? What are your business development efforts? Have some structure to your efforts. Otherwise you’ll get the default plan – the hamster wheel. That nasty hamster wheel sure will keep you busy – bad thing is, it also keeps you broke!

5. Be solution-minded versus problem.

I have a confession – I have this obsession with putting people into two categories, solution or problem thinkers. Every time I meet someone new I’ll secretly be determining which side they’re on. People who are problem-minded complain about issues without offering ideas on solutions. They also create self-inflicted obstacles that keeps them from getting any real work done. While people that are solution-minded are more level-headed and instead of screaming the sky is falling they come up with a solution and immediately put it into play. Here’s an article that I wrote for the Huffington Post a while back to give you some more insight on those mindsets.

6. Set goals and monitor closely.

Nothing can keep you more honest than a goal! It’s important to have long and short range goals in your business. If you’re not hitting them…guess what? One of the largest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is not setting goals! Even if your business is super tiny set a goal. I remember when my first monthly goal was $1200 for the month. Actually that wasn’t that long ago now that I think of it. My revenue is substantially different now but I know for a fact that the reason I experienced success so fast was that I treated my tiny business like it was big! I created the structure that manifested success.

7. Quarterly review time. Take time to review and reflect on your purpose, your business strategy, and your goals every 3 months.

Once every 3 months it’s time for reflection. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror. Denial costs way more than admittance. Where do you need to make adjustments?

Growing a business isn’t easy, but doing it blind is even harder. Take off the blindfold and get serious about building the business you deserve!

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Online Marketing – Let’s Do a Check Up

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online marketingIt’s not rocket-science the world around you is changing. The Internet is growing and expanding. As it expands, it creates change. The Internet will create opportunities – coincidently it will also end many industries as we know them.

Some businesses will survive – some won’t.

The pendulum has swung and now it’s time to get onboard or lose money in your business. My guess is you’re already leaving some money on the table by not understanding how online marketing works.

The largest oversight of most businesses is the consumer – the very consumer they desperately need. As a business you may want new clients or customers – but you’re not acknowledging that the way they communicate has changed considerably. You’re from Venus but now your customer is from Mars.

Gone are the days that we push our messages down our target market’s throat. Now, we attract them and pull them to us. That’s how online marketing works in the new world.

Will you learn the language so you can expand your business and adapt?

Online Marketing – Let’s Set the Stage

The online marketing world holds many incredible opportunities to grow your business. You have many opportunities to reach your target market like never before. No more do you have to run ads in a newspaper, hope that someone sees the ad, then wait for them to call you. Now, for a fraction of what an ad costed you can take out an ad on Facebook for example and tangibly “see” potential customers connecting with your business.

Many businesses want to take advantage of all the wonderful things online marketing can bring – but they’ve found that it does take a little elbow grease so they keep putting it off. Or they try to take short-cuts.

Here are two very important points I want to get across:

  1. You must get educated in this process. You have to learn how this works and how to apply it to your business. Don’t take short-cuts.
  2. You must have a consistent strategy to see reward. A blog post or email newsletter here and there won’t cut it.

So if you insist on the “quickie” approach to your online marketing don’t expect to benefit very much from it.

Online Marketing – Tough Questions to Answer

1. Take out your handheld device and look up your website on the Internet. What does your visitor see? Do you realize that over half of people surf the Internet with their phones?

Ramez Naam was recently asked by Search Engine Land, “Where do you think we are heading in terms of search — and search technology — overall?”  His response was, “Search is going to be dominated by mobile. Desktop is still there, but people are spending more and more time on mobile. Think about if your content works on a mobile device — because even if it is optimized really well and gets to the top of the search rankings as a result, you’re kind of screwed if the user can’t interact with it on a mobile device.”

2. Look at your website from the consumer’s perspective. Does your website serve your target market? Does it welcome them? Does it have what they need there at hello? Is it easy to navigate? In the past businesses built brochure type websites – those aren’t going to cut it in today’s world. Your website needs to be customer focused and packed with information that’s aimed right at them if you expect them to stay. Your website needs operate much like a spider web, it needs to pull your target market in. Also remember you have only a few seconds to get your target market’s attention so look at your website while counting to 3.

3. Do an Internet search to see where you rank. Using Chrome as your browser because it’s used by most searchers type in what a searcher would if they were looking for your product or service and see if your business is in the search. Now if you do business locally you’ll need to type in your city. (Be sure that you’re logged out of your Google account in that browser otherwise you won’t get a correct reading.)

Example: plumber in Birmingham, AL

If you’re like me and you have an Internet based business or you’ll want to just type in what you do as someone would that was looking for what you do but leave off the city.

87% of people don’t go past page one so if you’re not there, you’re losing money in potential sales.

4. Time to take a look at your competition. If you’re not in that search or even if you are – who else is there? You should always know how far ahead they are of you in the search – they’re getting business you aren’t.

5. How are you growing your list? If you grow your list, you grow  your sales, if you grow your sales, you grow your business. Growing the list is the number one priority for almost every business. Putting it off WILL cost you money. Putting it off WILL cost you in missed opportunities! I can’t tell you how many business owners launch a new product or write a book and they don’t have a list developed. Then they wonder why they struggle! You should be developing a target list that you can get your message out to on a regular basis. Which takes me to number 6…..

6. Are you leveraging email marketing in your business? This is one of the most powerful marketing tools in the arsenal and if you aren’t using it – it IS costing you money. Click here to check out this article for further reading on the power of email marketing.

7. Are you leveraging pay per click (PPC) advertising? Marketing in today’s world is about growing a tribe. A tribe of people that are connected with your business or brand and have interest in what you’re saying. A tribe of people that you can serve and provide them with great services and information. You can do that so much faster by leveraging pay per click advertising. If you’re not taking advantage of Facebook advertising or Google paid ads you’re really missing out. For a low investment you can receive a large return. Recently, I did a video about the powerful impact PPC has on your business. Take a few minutes and check it out – you’ll be convinced! Click here to check out the video on YouTube.

For further reading click here for a great article published by Adweek, Marketing is Expected to Undergo Radical Changes Over the Next 5 Years.

Are you ready to let go of your old ways and your old mindset? I hope so. The quicker you get onboard with online marketing – the quicker you can start growing your business! I don’t want you to be one of those that will be left behind!

 

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Behaviors Determine the Success of Entrepreneurs

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I get the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs every day. I’ve worked with some that have experienced huge success and I’ve also worked with some that just couldn’t get it together. Over the years I’ve learned the traits that divide. It’s not whose the prettiest or the smartest, those assets don’t have a lot weight in the entrepreneurial game.

It’s the behaviors and mindsets of the individuals that separate.

Some entrepreneurs are successful at creating the behaviors that equal success whereas others will spend most of their entrepreneurial journey struggling until they meet their demise.

The entrepreneurs that can’t seem to get their mindset mojo will spent their journey chasing dollars – and spending them. But unless they find a way to develop the mindset of success no matter what they’ll still find themselves back at square one.

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Home-Based Entrepreneurs Have Even More Challenges

There are millions of home-based business in the United States alone, and that number is expected to climb dramatically.

* 69% of new businesses in the U.S. start at home, and 59% of established businesses are home based.

* People of all generations are taking a chance on their own businesses: About 15 to 20% of the workforce–regardless of age– is engaged in running a startup or a more established business, once labor-force participation rates for each generation are factored in.

*Information taken from an article in Forbes Magazine. 

Paying your own paycheck is certainly not the path of the least resistance and working from home can certainly add to the challenge. As women we find ourselves of the mindset that we need to do everything (usually at once). We have the children to raise, the house to take care of, people to feed, perhaps animals to see after, bills to pay – and to add starting up a business to that?? Craziness! How could you possibly find it inside yourself to be the champion that births a successful business atop everything else?!

Well it’s difficult but not impossible. I’ve done it and I know plenty of others that have as well. It may be a path of resistance but it’s definitely traveled! Sure, in the journey things will suffer, not everything is perfect, the house may be messy,  you may not be as groomed as you used to be, and the pizza boy is definitely on the redial but everything works out in the end right?

If you have the right mindset, even with the challenges of home, you can in fact create a hugely successful business.

The Behaviors That Separate

One of the largest struggles of any entrepreneur is time. There’s not enough time to get everything done. There’s certainly not enough time to think ahead. What about the times you find yourself really busy – do you think that the business will always be there? Do you find yourself riding the wave? What happens when the wave peaks?

I for one do not ride waves. I want to be in total control of my business and I want every decision to be one of purpose. I can feel it when things are starting to get out of control and I will call a time-out fast. When I don’t feel that I’m in control of my business I get very uncomfortable and that’s when I start to make bad decisions.

What people of successful mindsets do during a very busy time is they take time to consider what they can do to sustain the growth and continue it. They don’t live in the illusion that it will always be there.

Here’s the behaviors that divide:

1. Plan and Set Goals – You have to have some sort of plan in your business. What exactly do you want to accomplish? In what timeframe? If you have a gage and a roadmap, you’ll recognize success. You’ll also have the awareness when it’s not happening. You’ll know when you need to step up your efforts.

As an example, how were your sales last year? Were you happy with that number? If no, we’re halfway through 2014, is it any different? If no, did you think it would just sort itself out? Did you think you would get lucky?

Even if you start out small, set goals in your business for today. What do you want to accomplish by January of 2015?

2. Make Tough Decisions – Successful people are always prepared to make tough decisions. We don’t just stay in situations because it’s easier or we’re too afraid, or perhaps we fear confrontation. I can create a million scenarios. For an example consider this, do you have toxic relationships in your business? What about with your clients? Do you have clients that make you dread even getting up everyday? Do you have clients that don’t pay you on time or not at all? Perhaps it’s time to fire those clients!

When I started being really profitable in my business was when I learned not to do business with people that first didn’t value my business enough to pay me, and secondly didn’t treat me with the respect I deserve. I will fire a client in a minute – and I won’t think twice about it. I have look out for my own business first. Everyone does.

Remember the speech the airline stewardess does, “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” Apply that rule in your business as well.

3. FOCUS – Entrepreneurs that have successful businesses have laser focus. Stop being busy in your business! Being too busy is a self-inflicted diversion that creates the illusion of productivity. When you end your day – what got done? How much closer are you to your goal?

If you want to create a successful business you must create the behavior that understands the value of knowing exactly what you want from your business. Who is your ideal client? How will you reach them in a way that expands your business?

You are in charge here. You run the business – don’t let it run you.

Tearing Down the Walls

I have a new hero! Her name is Carrie Green and she is owner of the Female Entrepreneur Association. I watched her Ted Talk in awe (actually I watched it 3 times) and I felt so connected to her! She told the story of being lost on the journey of looking for her purpose, which I totally related to. She tells in detail how she pulled herself away from fear and purposely programmed her mind for success.

carrie

Photo credit to Ted Talks.

Here are some highlights of her Ted Talk:

“People are missing out on amazing opportunities because of bad decisions – due to a bad frame of mind.”

“Perhaps you say you’ll do it tomorrow, and then tomorrow comes but you never do. All of those fabulous ideas stay locked inside.”

“Success is no accident, you have to do it on purpose.”

Carrie is dead-on, success is NOT an accident – so why do so many people try to just fall into it? Or why do they wait for it to just happen to them?

Why are they surprised when it doesn’t happen they way they wanted it to?

Click here to listen to Carrie’s Ted Talk.

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How Home-Based Business Owners Can Get What They Want

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home based businessLast week in my blog I wrote about something that’s literally the core of all success, the mindset. I wrote about the 6 attributes that separates mediocre entrepreneurs from extremely successful ones. This week we’ll stay within that topic but talk about a different angle, the art of persuasion.

Being able to persuade others is critical to an entrepreneur’s success. I was talking with one of my friends about this and the funny thing was when I mentioned having a talent to easily persuade others, she took that as a negative thing. I found it interesting how she related persuading others as deceptive which is completely false.

Sure, there are slimy people out there that are trying to make a buck off people dishonestly, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re a home-based business owner, you’re going to have to sell your product. If you’re going to sell your product, you’ll need to talk people into it.

As a Home-Based Business Owner You’ll Need to Understand the Art of Persuasion

I decided to talk about this topic when I watched a television program a few days ago on the National Geographic Channel called How Can You Get What You Want a segment from the series The Numbers Game. I was fascinated by the program which stated the entire world was built on persuasion. Doctors persuade patients to take medicine, teachers persuade students to learn, TV persuades us to do just about everything, and as a business owner you must persuade someone to buy something.

Here are some examples of persuasion used on the show: (Content credit to the National Geographic Channel.)

  1. Give a reason – If you’re standing in line and want move ahead of the person in front of you the study showed that 94% of the time when someone gave a reason versus just saying the word please they actually would allow you to jump ahead of them.
  2. Dress the part – A recent study found that people were 3.5 times more likely to follow a man wearing a business suit across a busy intersection than the same man in casual attire. Dressing professionally makes people think you’re more credible than if you are dressed normally, and so they are more likely to believe you and trust you as an authority figure.
  3. Present a visual – Get those PowerPoints ready! Presentations that use visual support are 43% more persuasive than those that don’t because visual aids help people remember and understand things better, which improves their chances of acting in a certain way.
  4. Grow a beard - A recent study in the Journal of Marketing Communications found that men with beards were deemed more credible than those who were clean shaven.
  5. Speak fast - Studies have found that speaking quickly, like at around 200 words per minute, is more effective in short-term persuasion. Fast talkers give listeners less time to come up with their own arguments, and so the listeners are more likely to just agree rather than embarrass themselves by stumbling over their words. So I guess this is why auctioneers talk so fast?
  6. Body language is powerful – One study found that you can convey 80% of a word’s meaning using nonverbal cues such as posture, facial expressions, and hand movements.

Is Persuasion Manipulation?

I think that many people feel that persuasion is a form of manipulation which is why there was a negative implication when I discussed it with my friend.  According to an article written for Forbes, called The 21 Principles of Persuasion written by Jason Nazarpersuasion is not manipulation – manipulation is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in their own interest. Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.

So stop thinking about those slimy snake oil salesmen when you think of being persuaded, it’s actually a mutual process. Let’s face it, everyone is selling something!

This topic really hit home with Rachel Bailey of Parenting by Heart, “I’m a home-based business entrepreneur who has a TOUGH time trying to “persuade” my ideal clients to buy my services and products. Even though I’m pretty confident that my services really do solve a problem, I hate the idea that I’m being too pushy or salesy so I don’t make the money that I could be making. I’d love to find out exactly what makes people feel like I’m helping, not selling.”

I’ve filled an entire practice by doing one thing really really well. I KNOW my ideal client. I know them intimately. Everything I do in my business down to the website that I designed was from their point of view, based on what I knew they needed. I constantly say out loud, “this isn’t about me” just to remind myself.

That being said, I want to ask Rachel to change her mindset. I want her to consider that what she has to offer to her ideal client isn’t just a service, but a gift. If you really believe that, then what you sell doesn’t really need to be sold but instead just needs to be explained so that your client clearly understands the value.

Now, as long as you’re confident that you’ve created a product that aligns with your passion and is of great value to your ideal client you should make a conscious decision to release yourself from any concern of over-selling. The confidence you have in your product and your process will shine through, thus attracting your client.

Persuasion Isn’t Manipulation – It’s Science

When conducting research on this topic I came across a great video on YouTube called Science of Persuasion by Influence at Work. Wow, this video gave an excellent perspective and I recommend that you click the link and watch it because I couldn’t possibly include all the great points it made.

home based business

(Photo credit to Influence at Work)

The video explains that researchers have studied what influences us to say yes at the request of others for over 60 years. They mention that it would be nice to consider that we make an educated decision based on all the available information. But the thing is, that isn’t the reality. They reference to the increasing information over-loading lives that we now live and as a result we create short-cuts to make our decisions.

I thought it would be fun to identify these 6 short-cuts which they refer to as the Universal Principals of Persuasion and then I will elaborate on them from a home-based business owner perspective. Understanding these short cuts and using them in an ethical manner, as they explain, can significantly increase the likelihood that someone will be persuaded by your request and say yes.

1. Reciprocity – Simply put, people feel obligated to give back what they receive. If you do someone a favor for example, they feel obligated to do a favor for you. People are more likely to say yes to those that they owe. So from a business perspective if you provide your audience with great information that’s valuable and helps them in some way, they feel obligated. As a result, they’re more likely to buy from you in the future.

2. Scarcity – It’s a known fact that people tend to want more of the things they can have less of. This is why so many businesses make a big deal out of going out of business sales. I have a furniture store down the street from me that I know has went out of business at least 5 times in a few years. This can also explain why we tend to buy things at the last minute – the threat of losing an opportunity thats valuable actually encourages us to buy. The video explains that it’s not enough to tell people about the benefits they’ll gain for purchasing your product. You’ll also need to point out what is unique about what you sell and what the potential customer stands to lose if they don’t buy.

3. Authority – This is the theory that people will follow the lead of credible knowledge experts. People are more likely to trust a doctor that has diplomas on the wall for example, or a fitness instructor that is very buff and healthy looking in appearance. The science of authority is, it’s important to signal to others what makes you a credible and knowledgable authority before you make your persuasion attempt. This theory is why testimonial marketing is so powerful. It would be a bit boastful to go around telling others how great you are. But what if someone does it for you?

4. Consistency – You should always be consistent with things you’ve said and done in your business. So in essence when seeking to persuade someone using the consistency principle, people will look for active commitments preferable in writing. For example one recent study showed that a health center reduced missed appointments by 18% simply by asking the patients to fill out the future appointment card themselves instead of the staff writing it for them.

5. Liking – People prefer to say yes to those that they like. But what causes someone to like you? Research tells us there are 3 very important factors. First of all we like people who are similar to ourselves. Secondly, we like people who pay us compliments. Finally, we like those who cooperate with us toward mutual goals. This principal is why it’s crucial to choose an ideal client target instead of selling to everyone. It’s so much easier to create this bond first with potential customers that we really understand and secondly that we share common ground with.

6. Consensus – When people are uncertain about something they will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own. As an experiment and in an effort to cut down on towel usage a hotel put up a sign in their bathrooms that simply stated, “75% of our guests reuse their towels during their stay, so please feel free to do so as well.” The towel reuse rate rose 26%. This is ANOTHER reason why testimonial marketing is powerful and crucial. Instead of relying on our own ability to persuade potential clients, we can let others do it for us.

How good at you at influencing others to buy? Will this information help you to do better? If so please leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on this article.

 

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