Your Message Affects Your Money!

First impressions should make people want to get to know you better.

A TV show I have enjoyed in the past is “What Not To Wear” on TLC. It was a show that had people nominated for a makeover. These people were hoping to do some great things in their life, like be a lawyer, run a global charity, have a successful business, or simply be accepted in the circles they were trying to be a part of. One thing that was common about these people was that they almost all would say, “I don’t want to change, people should like me no matter what I wear.” This is true, except as humans we are programmed to make judgements about situations, events and people to ensure we are safe, comfortable, and connected.

If your business language creates a first impression that screams ‘SHAM’, you say things that make others uncomfortable, or your vocabulary does not attract or appeal to your clients and others you wish to be connected to then it’s time to take a look at what you are saying/writing and make it create the right image for those whom you want to receive your message.

First Impressions

First impressions help us determine if we are going to be safe, comfortable, and feel connected. In the history of our evolution our brains have become wired for the ‘Freeze, Flight, or Fight’ reaction. We see or hear something and we have to evaluate immediately if we were going to be safe. We still have this unconscious reaction to new environments and new people, hence the reason why we still tend to make judgements about people we meet, when we first meet them. Although I would not recommend to anyone to make decisions on a first impression it is still important for you to create an image that makes people willing to connect with you again so a decision or a sale can take place. After all, we don’t purchase from people we don’t trust, so having a language that builds trust, especially on your first contact, is imperative.

First-impression Touchpoints

Where are your first-impression touchpoints? These are the places prospects are likely to experience you for the first time. Is it your website, your Facebook page, at a networking event, a video on YouTube, or an ad in a magazine? What does it say about who you are and what you do? Your first impression about you and your business has to say two things:

  • I am trustworthy, likable, and worth knowing
  • I have something of value that you might want

If you want to know if this is true of your message, have someone from outside your inner circle, preferably a client or prospect, evaluate the language they experience.

  • Do they feel like they would want to connect with you or your business? If so they should be excited to have met you or experienced your message.
  • Is your message clear or is there something missing they expected to find or understand about your or your business? For it to be clear they not only have to understand what you are saying, but must be attracted to your message. If they are not, your language is not targeted to the people you want to attract as clients.
  • Do they know what to do next? If you meet them at a networking event do they know what their next step is to stay connected with you. If they see your message in a magazine is there a clear call to action that they will actually act on? Do they want you to connect with them or do they want to simply have a way to stay connected. You need to know what the best way to continue this new relationship will be and have that message ready too.
  • What can you do for them right now that will also build on the trust? If you give first you will create a comfort level that will open the door for future conversations. Remember to give without expectation of reciprocation. This true gift is a language of its own that speaks directly to our unconscious mind.

Your first impression is not a time for sales, it is a time to start a lasting, positive relationship .You might think, like the nominees of the TV program I mentioned earlier, that people should love you for what you do, but until they know you they need to like you for what they see and hear. Since they really don’t have a lot to go on yet your first contact should be a rich, warm experience full of value. The next time they experience you, like in the email, they will be thankful for knowing you instead of fearful of what you make be asking of them. With trust comes the opportunity to have your conversation around money.

 

More Products from What You Are Doing Right Now!

If you know your pricing is correct then making more money in your business can be achieved two specific ways: sell more or charge more. Charging more is a discussion for another day. Selling more product can seem daunting. What else can I sell? Do I have time to create something new? Do I have the skills needed to do something different? A way to make money in your business is to focus on what you have done or are doing right now. If you have been in business for a few years you likely have previous products and content you may be able to use to create value for your clients on top of, or within, your current offerings. Here are three ideas you can start with.

Past Content

We often create a large amount of content for our clients; like video, audio, and written content, as well as content we have created for our own use inside our company. Here is one example that may give you some ideas of what you could add to your own products.

When I started hosting the Power of Leadership 5 years ago (back when it was called the EClub), I wasn’t thinking about how I would accumulate the recordings of experts and their teachings over the years. Time often gives us a great deal of options that we only see as the single focus. In this case, I saw a monthly 1 hour expert call. When I realized I had over 50 hours of recordings from some of the most successful small business owners in North American I started thinking, “what else can I do with this?” I had recordings stored away and inaccessible to those that really needed it. I had hours of prep work and interviews invested and was still investing and no way to ensure the experts’ brilliance was available in an ongoing way. This made me think about creating something that would be easy to use and valuable to my clients. So I created a product that gave unlimited access to all past and future recordings for $47. It is digital access so I don’t have to monitor it (except to upload new calls) and people can download and listen to any call at any time.

Bundle & Packages

If you have ever given a webinar or online training, you can use some or all of the content created for a new product. In fact, it would be best to create products with the intent of reusing the content for a digital product.

For instance, I gave a 5 week online program call “Profit and Play”. It was a detailed program on business development which included group calls and group coaching. I put the group calls and exercise work into a digital product and offered live group coaching calls to go along with it. I only needed to deliver the content once for the program and then it was delivered via weekly download. I reduced the amount of time I had to put into delivering the program and was still giving people the insight and support they needed to grow their business.

Add Value

Use any past product, part of a product, or content to add value to a new product and entice more sales. You have seen this done very successfully by many experts. When you purchase their new product they add in access to something else.

e.g. Register for my 3-day program by ‘specific-date’ and get immediate access to my ‘X-program’.

You can even use your past content to add to your marketing reach by offering it to someone else’s product launch.

e.g. Purchase my new book today and get $1000 in free gifts. (which includes a gift from you)

If you have physical product sitting on a shelf because it is not selling as it once did, make it a ‘value add’ for your newer products. This helps with current sales and also helps you clear your inventory and balance your accounting. It is much better than having to count the product every year when you do your end-of-year inventory

e.g. Buy two and we’ll through in one of our best selling products at no extra charge.

Now that you have some ideas, get your mastermind group together and brainstorm what else you can be offering to create more money in your business sales right now!

Money – Details – Path – Spend!

It’s funny, people don’t ask me about spending, they tell me “I can’t afford to…” with a belief that someday they will have the money they need to spend. I call it a belief because it usually does not come with a plan. Listen to these statements below and see if any are things you have said before. (add to the list in the comments if you have other examples)

  • By next year I should be able to hire someone.
  • I just have to get through the fall, then I will be able to do that.
  • I need a new computer and a bunch of other things for the business.
  • I can’t afford to travel right now.
  • I need to move out of my office to something bigger.

Of course we have all said something like this. These are the statements that are the beginning of a plan. The difference between someone that does get what they want and someone with the belief they can and never seems to get there, is the plan.  If you have said any statement like these and found yourself saying again for the same reason next year, and the year after, you are missing the plan.

The person with the plan to ‘hire someone next year’ is not simply hoping they have enough money to actually hire someone, they are doing the research, evaluating the job requirements, deciding on what they will actually hire for, determine the costs, creating a strategy to make the money they will need, and identifying the exact time it will be possible to hire if they meet all their deadlines.

So when do you know it is time to spend? A few years back I blew the engine in my 12 year old Subaru. I think the universe was telling me it was time to spend, but I still had to do this work, even when it was a required purchase.

Don’t Have the Money

When you don’t have the money it becomes difficult to do the work, hire, travel, purchase, etc. When I thought about getting a new car or putting a great deal of money into my old car I kept thinking to myself, “next year” or “in the fall” or some other time. Like things were just going to change on their own to make it the right time to put out a large amount of money. It is the same for our businesses. Unless we have specifically earmarked money to spend and we know the plan to make it viable for the business it is just a belief in a future that we would like to see materialize.

When you don’t have the money you need to start by thinking, “How much money do I actually need.” To answer that question it is much more than simply saying ‘a lot’ or ‘a new car’s worth’.

Don’t Know the Details

If you want to know what you have to earn you have to know what you have to spend. This is particularly true if you are also hoping to have a profit in your business. Start with the details of your purchase. Do you know how much it will cost to rent a new office space or purchase that new computer? The ‘real numbers’ not just a range that you think you know based on signs you’ve seen or people you have talked too? I find that my expectation of value are different than my actual need and that affects my estimation of cost.

When I went to purchase two computers for my office I found that one was $1,000 more than I expected and the other was actually a little less than I expected. What I needed, what I wanted, and what I could afford were all different. I had a plan to purchase the computers with an estimation based on what I saw in flyers. Computers for business require different software, different setup, and different support, plus the work to transfer what I had to my new system. If I had made a plan I would not have been surprised. I would have had the money I needed and I would have known what I had to do to make it happen without stress or issue. As it was, I got only what I needed and had to give up some of my wants on one computer to get pay for the extra cost of the other. My belief was not my reality and it cost me time and money, and added stress to my purchase.

If you want to grow your business do the research long before it is time to buy. Know what you need, where to get it, what you must have, and what you can do without so that when you are ready you can simply step into that next level of your business without surprises in cost, time or stress.

Don’t Have the Path

What do you need to sell? What level of business must you be at? What is your plan to pay back debt (if that is a factor) and what do you expect to spend? Now that you know the exact numbers you can make a plan. If you need to spend $1,200 within the next 12 months then start putting away $120 per month inside your business to make it happen. That is on top of all your debt repayments, weekly, monthly, and yearly expenses, and your paycheque. If you need to $50,000 investment within the next 12 months then the same equation applies. If you do not have that type of money coming into your business then this is where your plan would include new strategies to create money or get new investment. The money does not come at the expense of your current payments, it must come as an addition to them.

Spend

Now it is time to spend. When you get to this moment, defined in your plan, it will not feel like you are being extravagant. You will not feel like you have to continually justify your purchase. It will feel like this is what you planned for. This is the next step in your business. This is how you will earn more money, make more income, create more profit, and serve more people. We all have to invest in our businesses. Every time we want to grow we have to invest. If you have a plan then your purchases will be investments aligned with your growth strategies. Don’t just buy, buy, buy because you see a need and don’t just kept putting off investment because you never see the path, create your plan to spend and invest wisely in your business’s next steps.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Business Coach

Really, there are some significant reasons not to hire a business coach. That is not to say you should not hire an expert to help you with different aspects of your business, because you should. Never, in the history of mankind has anyone become successful without training, help, and support of others.

So want am I suggesting then? That there are key differences between a business coach and a business strategist. On the surface they look very similar.

What is the Difference?

Below is a graphic to highlight three key differences between a business coach and a business strategist.

Three key differences between a coach and a strategist The key here is the training. In coach training, coaches-to-be are told they are not required to ‘be’ the expert. They are there to help you identify what you need to do next, to get you unstuck and moving forward. Coaches ask powerful questions to create this movement for you but what you don’t know is what you don’t know and they are not there to teach, suggest or recommend business ideas.

Many people that call themselves a business coach are experts and may even be business strategists. Here are 5 questions you can use to find out if the person you want to hire is the expert you need.

How to Find a Qualified Business Strategist

  1. Do they have experience?   In the aspect of business that you are focused on and hiring for, does the business coach you are looking at have the experience you need? For example, if you are looking for growth in your market, does the business coach understand your target market, pricing strategies, industry trends, etc.?
  2. Ask them who their ideal client is.    Are their clients retail stores, large corporations, or small businesses in service industries? Are their clients new business or established? These all required different knowledge and experience to be considered an expert.
  3. What are your clients’ results?    Ask for testimonials and get some hard numbers. If they are experts at marketing ask about the return on investment (ROI) their clients got from implementing a plan they helped them with. The ROI could be dollars, new clients, hits on their website, new prospects, etc.
  4. How many years have you been doing this?    Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes around 10,000 hours of doing the work and improving over time to become an expert at anything. How long have they been focusing on business development.
  5. Do they have training and are they constantly being trained? This is where coach training, or teaching certifications and a mindset of a life-long learning are important. Just because someone has been a successful business owner does not make them a great teacher, coach, or mentor. There is a lot of skill required to be able to not only bring current, up-to-date business expertise to the table but to also ensure that they do not override the client’s agenda. It is your business after all and they have to understand what you want to do, teach what matches and make powerful suggestions on things that may not.

Like an athlete, having a coach to train with necessary. It is important that you get the expert that knows your ‘sport’ well enough to train you to win. When you finalize your relationship you should be sure you are getting the expertise you need to do more than you are able to do now and not just any business coach.


 

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Create More Income in Mid-Summer Doldrums

Unless your business is a ‘summer seasonal’ business, you may be like many of us where sales are down over the summer. I think it is especially difficult in places where the winters are harsh and the summers short. Where I live (in a snow belt) we get long, cold winters with a lot of snow. This summer we have had incredible weather and no one wants to be inside. For those businesses that sell to other businesses it can actually affect the bottom line.

Yesterday I was talking with a client about her June/July sales which are down over last year. After looking at all the possibilities that can affect sales we thought one of the most likely causes is that her clients (massage therapists) are not seeing as many clients themselves because of the beautiful weather and hence not using as much product. After all, with the Canadian dollar disparity and a looming price increase, they should be purchasing more right now.

If you are having a usual or unusual slowdown in the summer (or another time of the year) here are three things you can do to create more income in your business to drive more sales.

Big Sale sign in red over white background

1. Sale

Have a sale. This is a great time to let your customers and past clients know they can purchase your service or products for a short time at a really great price. It will allow you to reconnect with past clients and get your brand in front of people that have not bought from you before. This may be the opportunity some people have been waiting for to get the product or package they want. Remember that your sale price should not be less than your cost, unless it is a ‘lost leader’ meant to bring in more customers to purchase other ‘on sale’ products.

2. Unique Offering

Offer something you never sell as a one-time purchase. For instance try these unique offerings:

  1. Pair up with another business to give a ‘2-fer’ – two great purchases for one great price. Pair up with someone that offers a product or service your clients would love to have but that you do not offer (e.g. Reiki and massage / weight loss and supplements / coaching and marketing assessment). Remember, you still need to both be making money.
  2. My VA offers a summer ‘try me’ package that gives a month of her time on a trial price (50% off her regular). Believe me once you have someone doing the work for you as a consumer you are likely to continue to purchase. If you do the work for your clients try this last idea out.
  3. I have a client that loves to offer a 10% discount at a local health food store when people come through her nutritional programs. The big win for the health food store is they get new clients in the door and my client looks generous being able to get her clients this discount on food they will need for their new lifestyle.

3. Bonus

Add in something that has great value but costs you little or no additional time or money.  If you have a product that can be downloaded (a program that teaches or relaxes or energizes, etc.) you can add it to any other offering for a short period of time. Remember, it must have true value, not just your ‘free offer’.

Something else I have tried is giving clients access to a personality assessment which I purchase in bulk. This does cost me a little, but it is nominal since I purchase in bulk and it has great value to help my clients understand their marketing language, marketing archetype, or fascination value – all of which makes them better able to cope with the leadership requirements of business ownership. It also gives us language to use when we are working together so we both have a better understanding of what they need to do next for their business’s strategic growth.

Don’t let summer (or any seasonal lull) stop you from making money. Keep your clients happy, keep them coming back, keep them in-the-loop with your offering by making it more desirable to purchase right now.

As for my client with the June/July dip in sales, she has decided to offer her loyal customers one last opportunity to purchase at a lower price after she raises her prices to cover the import costs. After all, who wouldn’t want to stock up before they have to pay more?

 

Working at Home Can Negatively Affect Your Sales

If you are like me and you work from home and have kids, the summer can be a really tough time to get work done. AND just because you don’t have kids does not mean you are not affected by the “I work from home” virus. I say it’s a virus because it takes time for the routines, both the good and the bad, to set in and the symptoms of what you do show up. The symptoms of bad habits at home can be costing you clients.

What often happens when we work alone from our home is we find ourselves  doing work that is not for our business, we  feel alone with our work, we  do the same unproductive work over and over, and we sometimes  become  emotionally deflated or physically drained, even when we are not doing anything physical. If you want to make your home office a highly productive space look at adding these 4 items to your work day.

 Do the Hard Work First

The home office can be a very distracting place. If you want to be highly productive, do the work that is highest on your priority list first. If there is something you don’t like to do, then get it out of the way. Do the hard work first. Don’t procrastinate with an excuse that something, “must get done first” especially if you know it can wait. Don’t lie to yourself that your blog must get out when you know a sales call must be made, an invoice delivered, or a contract must be written. Do the work that brings in the money. It is not the sexy work. It is not the most fun work (although I have a few successful friends that would say sales is fun work). It is often tedious and uncomfortable. Do it first and then do the rest.

Get out

Changing your energy will help you stay focused. There has been research that I have read showing that humans can concentrate for a short period of time and be extremely productive. Beyond this time (which is about 90 minutes) we start losing our ability to stay focused. To reset your “focus-meter” you need to get out of the energy you are currently in. Set a 90 minute “productivity timer” and when it goes off, get up. Move away from your desk and physically leave your office. Stretch or do a short amount of exercise. Kelly McGonigal, PhD and author of The Willpower Instinct, suggests taking a ‘green break’ and going outside. It does not have to be for long, as short as 15 minutes, to recharge your “focus-meter” and get you back into your full-powered focus again.

Another way to get out is to take your work to a different location. Try working at a coffee shop or at the library. This is especially helpful on days when your kids won’t leave you alone and you have a deadline.

 Connect with New Minds

Stop working alone all the time. I didn’t realize how important it was to talk to others about what is and isn’t working. This is true for both business work and personal things. When we share what is going on we get feedback from others. We get to hear insights that may be new information for us or known information with a different perspective. It is impossible to make changes in our businesses or our lives without new insights that lead us to new discoveries, routines, actions, and ideas. Get out and have a lunch or coffee every few days or weeks. Attend networking events. Read a blog, new articles about your industry, or a book. Follow or hire an expert/mentor to get insights you did not have before. Join a mastermind group. Go to a Meetup meeting or attend a Google Hangout for a discussion on a topic you love. Don’t get stuck in an old mindset. Always be learning and growing.

Make Your Working Space a True Workplace

Is your office also a place for your entire family? Do the kids feel they have open access to your workplace, even when you are working? You need to set some boundaries for yourself and for your family. If you don’t have a separate room for your office and you need to share the space then when is it your “workplace” and when is it a “home space”? Try to physically block off your work space from the home. If you have a door on your office, then close it when you are working. If you don’t have a door then make a decision when your business is open and put up your office’s “open hours” sign so everyone, including you, knows when the space is an office. Let your kids and your spouse know when they can interrupt you and when it is important that they don’t (e.g. when you are writing or on the phone). Set your 90 minute “productivity timer” outside your office so when it goes off you will have to get up and out of your office and your kids will know you are available for them.

Don’t let your home space stop your productivity. Make your office a true business space. Give yourself time to focus and time to regenerate. Connect with amazing people to grow your business relationships and your mind. And finally, don’t put off the work that makes you money. There are many successful 6-figure and 7-figure businesses that operate out of the owner’s home. This can be you too.

 

 

If You Are Not Sure – Try it On!

Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t do that”? Some people are afraid to try new things because we don’t know what the outcome will look like when we have never tried it before. Especially when we know it will not be easy. We want people to see us as competent so we don’t want to make a mistake doing it wrong. The challenge with this is sometimes it makes it hard to change. Trying something new means we have to do something we have not done before and that means we are not competent. This is when comfort can over-ride our need to change and we stay stuck.

I remember in the first year of business, when I met Rose Adams, who is now a good friend of mine. Rose had (and still has) the presence of a leader. She is warm and welcoming and always well dressed. I had chosen to be a part of her networking group because of her and a few other strong business women that were in the group.

Rose was kind to me and interested in seeing me do well, so she offered some advice which I accepted gratefully. She offered to go shopping with me to get new clothes. You see, I was still in ‘mommy mode’. My clothes were appropriate for outdoor at the park, walking kids to school, going camping, but not for business. I was very ‘shlumpy’. Rose and I were just acquaintances at that time so her offer was very surprising. I was honoured that this stylish, professional lawyer would take her time to shop with me. There were a couple of conditions for our shopping trip: I was not allowed to buy anything black and I had to try on everything.

Fashionable clothes that fit and look appropriate

Think about these conditions – they were very important because they were to open my eyes to ‘the new’ and what else was available to me. I had worn a lot of black and everything was comfy, jeans & T-shirt – super casual. If all I tried on was the same as what I wore, I would look the same as I had always looked. I had to get out of my comfort zone and try on things I thought looked disgusting, weird, or not me. Of course it didn’t look like me, I never wore it – but it could be me if I changed, and I did. What I found was sometimes the things I thought looked disgusting on me and sometimes they looked amazing, and everything in between. I really had no reference points to make judgements or discussions from. I didn’t know good from bad, stylish from dumpy, my style from someone else’s style. I had to start by trying it on.

The same is for learning what you are best at in your business. What do you love to do? Who do you love to spend your time with? When are you most powerful and where? Can you speak in public, are you a leader, can you create new programs, work one-on-one with your clients, do group events, host a conference, support a NFP, work with a partner.

Sometimes we just have to try something on to see if it fits. Don’t say, “No I can’t do that”, ask, “How could I do that” and then figure out how you can try it on. After all, if it doesn’t fit, you can always find someone else to wear it for you. What you will get is a sense of your limitations and what you can do well. I have used this model to find out I can actually tell great stories from the stage when I thought I was not a story teller, and that I am not the “Richard Branson” charisma leader. We all have our core strengths, and they are all valuable. Using your best strengths (wearing what fits) and learning what ‘look’ is yours will bring you authority in your authenticity because you will feel powerful and comfortable in everything you do.

The Value of Your Reference Group

Last week I was at a luncheon with two friends of mine that I consider very accomplished and focused on the changes they wish to help make happen in the world. We were also joined by 5 other women that turned out to be very similar. How blessed I am to be so often surrounded by such incredibly forward-focused, game-changers with a spiritual/holistic/philanthropic approach to life.

Friends toasting and celebrating together

When I had mentioned this to my friend she said, “it is a mirror reflecting of what you bring to the world.” Interesting as I know 10 years ago this was not me. I know I have grown intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, but we don’t see ourselves the way others do. What I had not seen was that surrounding myself with this level of business genius had raised me up to that level as well.

As the saying goes, we are the combination of the 5 people we spend the most amount of time with. “How true”, I started thinking after my conversation above. I was doing what my 5 closes friends were doing 10 years ago and now I’m doing what my 5 closest friends are doing now. I wanted to be able to affect more change and help more people so I started spending time with people that affect more change and help more people.

Here are two things I have done to get to a place where I get to have lunch with world-changers because I am one of them.

Act ‘as if’

I don’t like the saying, “fake it ‘til you make it”. One of my core values is honesty, so faking it always seemed like a lie to me. I don’t want to lie to my friends, my peers, my clients, nor to myself simply to get what I want. It felt selfish and wrong. But when I read ‘Act as if’ from Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles” and then started seeing the same teaching from others, like Darren Hardy, I realized that there was a significant difference in the semantics of these two statements.

Fake it

Act as if

Pretend you are Believe you are
Wear the right costume Dress the part
Use their language Use ‘the’ language
Pretend you know Learn it and ask
Spend to take part (even if you cannot afford it) Find other ways to take part (to be a part of it)
Do it first Get a mentor – do it after them

Activate your brain muscle to start visualizing what it is you want to be and where. The more your subconscious believes it to be true, the more true it will be. Here is an easy example we should all be able to relate to, as we have all been a teenager at one time in our lives.

Picture two teen girls, both pretty and both academically competent, but one believes she is pretty and smart and the other believes she is average in every way. These two girls will present very differently to the outsider. The one girl may be a leader, doing and belonging to groups that the other girl may not even dream of being accepted to. One will be invited, the other will be overlooked. This does not mean one will have a better life, but it will give the one girl more options and more support to attain whichever goal she chooses.

Know you are and you will be.

Give Generously From What You Have

I’m not talking about digging deep into your pockets and handing out your last few dollars. I’m talking about something more precious – your gifts of wisdom, influence, and skill. What can you do to help others around you?

It is easiest to give money, but that will not get you connected to those that will be key to opening doors for future opportunities. If you want to give, then give with your time to something that aligns with your passion and goals. I love business, I love being creative, and I am a visionary, so my easiest give is to be a part of a board or steering committee that has to help with big-picture decisions. When I am at these meetings I am engaged and energized. My energy is contagious and it makes me fun and interesting to be around, so people want to be with me. It is valuable use of my time and I can add value to the group I volunteer for.

I once volunteered where I was not passionate and the work was mundane, repetitive, and combative. I was drained and angry about the time I had to give. I felt used and wasteful with my time. I did not produce great results for the group, nor did I enjoy being there. I can imagine I was not fun to be around and that certainly did not gain me any new friends for my reference group.

If you want to be surrounded by great people, be a great person. Believe you are worth knowing and give generously to the places you feel most connected. Your people are there waiting for you.

What is Balance in Business?

I’ve heard people say, ‘it is important to have balance in your life.’ I’ve also heard some people say, ‘you have to learn how to create balance in your business.’ Recently I’ve heard, ‘there is no such thing as balance.’ Wow, so which is it? Is it important, do we need it, or does it even exist? Balance is a tricky word when it comes to non-physical concepts.

When we think of balance we often conjure a vision of two objects equally weighted or a person standing on one foot.

“A state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.”1

But in business and life it often means putting up with the things we don’t like so we can have enough time to do what we love. For example working to get 2-weeks vacation. The problem is that doing the negative to have the positive is not balance. Doing what is equally weighted throughout your life is.

“A mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.”1

When we say we are working towards balance we forget that it means every day, all day long, not just after the work is done. It is not putting in three 12 hour days so we can go to our kids play at school. It is not getting 90 ‘no’s’ to hear 10 ‘yes’s’ in our sales calls. So if that is not it then what is it?

It is what Buddha calls ‘The middle way’ – This is the path that walks between the extremes.

So how do we add this to our lives and our businesses? We crave stability and yet we seek change. We want calm and achievable and yet we engage in risks that require a long learning curve and a huge investment in energy.

Ohm Symbol

The key I feel has three parts:

1. Know Your Extremes

The Up

When are you pathologically happy? You know… like being in love. That painful ache of love that drives you to do things you would not normally do and keeps you awake at night. It brings you to tears for fear of losing it and makes you pace in anticipation of your next dose of it.

The Down

When are you depressed, angry, overwhelmed and feeling out of control? These are the times that paralyze our actions and stop us from doing what needs to get done.

2. Know Your Ohm

Spend a little time to capture a list of times when you were happiest – when you were most calm – when you felt at peace with your world, your relationships, and your life. It should be a place that makes you smile and fills your heart with a warm remembrance of something worth repeating. It took no effort to achieve it and no payment to experience. It just was a place and time that gave to you exactly what you needed. Understanding what you see as your place of bliss will help you understand your ‘middle way’.

3. Understand Your Why

This may take longer to identify, but anything you start with will be better than having no ‘why’. Try using these questions to help you unearth this truth for you.

  • Why do you love working with the people you work with?
  • Why do you love helping the clients you get to help?
  • What about your product or service gets you excited?
  • What about what you do makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning?
  • How do you feel you are able to affect change in your client, community, country, world?

Now try these three suggestions:

  1. If you know when you are at your extremes (out of your ‘middle way’) you are not balanced and your family, clients, and friends will be able to sense it. Ask others if they think you seem at peace with your business right now.
  2. If you find yourself fighting for every minute of happiness and you really are not present when you get those moments of respite, then you are not in your ‘middle way’. Look for times without extremes.
  3. If you cannot answer the questions to why you are doing what you do, you may be living someone else’s dream. Think of who else you might be living your actions as and then ask the questions again as if you are them. See if you can answer the ‘Why’ as someone else. It is very hard to be your most amazing self and add value to others when you don’t know why you are doing what you do.

Use these tips to help you stay in a place of calm, where you can regenerate your energy easily, add value to others, and feel happy about the life you have chosen to lead. You will be more productive, your days and your duties will feel lighter, and you will be present for the times you are not working in your business. Think of how your kids will respond when they know their mom or dad is truly able to spend a day with them not worried they are missing out on something else. Imagine how you will feel when you know you have not missed out on something because you have time to do all that needs to get done.

 

Getting Your Pricing Right – 3 Key Points

Do you ever feel like you are either under or over charging for you are delivering? How about the feeling of not being completely sure what to deliver – is that an issue too? Getting your pricing right has a lot to do with what you deliver and the value it provides.

This past weekend I worked with a client that is not new to business but is new to this current business. She has incredible transformational skills that are highly valued by her clients. The challenge is she felt she was constantly giving more time than she was charging for and she could not see how she could charge more for what she was delivering.

Your Ideal Client

Knowing your ideal client will always make it easier to sell your value. In a discussion today with a business owner (let’s call her Beth) that sells personal care products, that are organic and healthy, Beth talked about how many people asked, “why would I buy your product when I can get the same product at Walmart for 1/4 the price?” Those questions don’t bother her any longer because Beth knows her client is the mother with a child that cannot tolerate additives, scents, gluten, etc., that are the cheaper way of making the products sold for less. Her ideal client needed what she has and is excited to find it both locally manufactured and sold, even at a higher price.

What is the Result/Benefit?

Our clients don’t buy for features, they buy for the results it will give them. This is why it is so important to understand who your ideal client is. By knowing who they are you can also know what they value most. Is it more time to be with their family, less stress around managing a business, or healthier kids that don’t need prescriptions? Whatever it is, it will be something that closely affects the happiness and enjoyment of their lives. Your product or service needs to speak to their needs. It must provide a benefit that solves their issues. If you don’t know what that is, ask your best clients what it is they get from you.

For Beth it is not the product she is selling, it is the health of a mother’s child which in turn gives them the ability to do better in school and live a happier more productive life. Beth knows that a child with sensitivities or allergies cannot easily focus in school and they start acting out or falling behind. Beth also knows that having toothpaste, hand cream, or cleansers that don’t aggravate or trigger her child is absolutely invaluable when her client’s child comes home with an ‘A’ in school.

Always know your ideal client’s needed results so you can sell the benefits and not the features.

Your Own Value First

You must be able to truly believe that what you are charging is of great value. That you are giving something that is going to do what you say it will do and you must know the cost in hours and expenses. This helps determine your pricing.

In the case of my transformational client from this past weekend, she was offering a choice of two coaching packages: 3-month or 6-month, where the 6-month was twice the price of the 3-month. So what is the value of purchasing 2x more time with her? There was nothing that she knew her clients needed that would be defined by spending twice the time with her. So what did they actually get? It turned out that her best clients usually started with a focused session that identified their blocks. They actually left this first visit feeling better. The remaining time is how she locked in their transformation, went to the deeper blocks, and kept them continually feeling better. Her problem was she felt guilty about giving them 2+ hours for the first visit because she was not charging them for it and she did not want to increase the price because she did not know the value (or at least she could not define the value in terms of benefits and results).

Without changing her hourly rate we re-evaluated her product delivery and benefits and came up with a product that met her ideal client’s needs, gave them measurable results, and was priced to cover her costs, both in time and in expenses. It did not feel more expensive. It was actually easier to sell as she could speak directly to the transformation and the time it would take. She could stand behind her offering and really make a difference. It made selling more like an invitation for her clients to feel better and be more productive.

By knowing her ideal client and their needs she could create a product with lots of value that gave the results they were seeking. She could now easily charge what she was worth.

Being congruent with your value first will allow you to be valued by others and will make you more competitive. Charging what you think people will pay will not. Don’t let an industry, a mentor, or a potential client tell you what to charge. Do the research and the math and make your numbers represent the actual value. It will be worth your time.