Share Your Work

From my podcast Audacious Entrepreneur on the Move

I’m coming to you from Bloomington, Indiana.  My book signing was yesterday, and it was utterly amazing. 40 people came, I sold so many books, the questions and conversation were incredible. It was just awesome.

I left Michigan yesterday morning, and as I was driving, I was recalling how I missed out on a golden opportunity four years ago when I was doing the research for my book, Stories of Elders. The research took place across 12,000 miles, but I completely missed the opportunity to take photos and share the experience with others. And because of that I lost out on followers, potential buyers, and massive networking opportunities.

I have been thinking a lot about that during this book tour and wanting to share that with you all. Even though it seems pretty small, it is actually a big deal. I know that we chalk up social media to being so fluffy and lacking substance.  We have so many reasons to avoid social media, I totally get it from a very personal standpoint.  But we also live in a time where has never been easier to take hundreds of photos and share experiences.  It is these experiences that people want to be shared.

I would much rather see your pictures of an experience or an adventure than just seeing you drink a cup of coffee.  Coffee is great, and I love it, but it’s just a cup of coffee.

So as I was driving this time for the book tour, I made sure to stop and take photos and take some video clips.  Right now it feels like I just need to get to the next place, but later on in this trip, it’s really going to matter.

I want to encourage you to do the same. All of you are here because you have a great idea. You’re doing something amazing either as an entrepreneur or an author, and all of these things, whatever they may be, have stories to tell.  When you travel or when you are doing something to support that incredible work, it’s really unique.  You’re doing something that no one else really does. The percentage of the population that is founding businesses and writing books is fairly small.  Even today, when entrepreneurship is really starting to get quite popular.

As for book writing, it’s much easier to publish today.  The barrier to entry to write a book is much lower because of Amazon and on demand printing. But even still, not a lot of people do this.

So it’s worth sharing.  You have a story.  You have an idea.  You have an experience.  Not only is it inspiring to others, but it also might teach or may elevate your brand and bring you new customers and clients. You never know how just simply sharing something that seems so mundane to you is actually totally changing lives.

How to Deal with Another Business Stealing your IP

I know it’s not the comforting to hear, but this happens.  Ideas rub off onto others, and sometimes, whether they mean to or not, they begin using those ideas.  Nevertheless, it’s a shock to realize that a local competitor has taken your IP and copied it — sometimes unabashedly.

At GreenCup we had a direct local competitor that was very similar in pricing and in offerings.  I hated that I would be jealous when a potential client chose them over us.  But I’m sure they felt the same way about us, sometimes!  I have since seen other groups or coaches take my ideas and run with them.  Like I said, it happens.

One of the most important things to remember is that no one can duplicate YOU.  They can steal your ‘style’ and copy your content, but trust is built with clients in the actual work.  You have a special sauce that has clearly been working for you.  They can try to follow what you’re doing, but they didn’t create it, which means that there will always be something missing.

Please also remember that there are thousands of potential clients in your region, not to mention nationwide or internationally if you serve those markets.  Not to mention that we are seeing mass migrations across the country, meaning you have new potential clients and customers pouring into your area.  Only a cross section of those are your ideal client, of course, but you definitely have what it takes to attract them.

So focus on your work.  Focus on the invitation.  Focus on innovating to make things even better and keep your edge.  And consider how can you get in front of your ideal client first, or even after they’ve gone with the competitor to show that you are a lovely option should they ever be displeased?  Where are they looking?  The worst thing you can do is become distracted from growing your beautiful work because you’re concerned with another business.

Now, how do you protect your IP?  There’s trademarking and copywriting, sure, and they are fair options.  But ultimately there’s not a whole lot that can be done without spending a lot of money in lawsuits.  I’m happy to look over your online presence to make sure there are no leaks, but most likely they took what they could and guessed about the rest, which means your business still works better.

Keep it up,

 

 

 

 

 

Why Podcasting is the Next Step to Building Your Empire

Building an empire (an audacious group of offerings developed by a single expert) isn’t something one simply completes and moves on from.  Empire building for entrepreneurs is an ongoing process, especially for thought leaders and serial entrepreneurs.  You have a lot to offer the world and each new addition to your business is a stepping stone to new heights.

Today I want to talk about podcasting and how it is the perfect next step to your empire building.  Podcasting is not new – if you haven’t heard of it, well, get on your phone and explore Apple Podcasts or Google Play — and its format really is just radio broadcasting for the 21st century.  So we’re not reinventing the wheel by starting a podcast.

Now, I’ve written an entire guide on the how-to in creating a podcast.  So we’re not going to spend a lot of time on that in this blog post.  Instead, I want you to truly understand WHY you need to add a podcast to your empire.

Your Authority Is Showing

The first and most important thing that a podcast does for a business is it shows your authority in your field.  Couldn’t you acheive this by getting interviewed on other podcasts and media outlets?  Well, sure… to an extent.  But it takes away your control, means you are always at the mercy of others, and it doesn’t create as much authority as owning your own podcast channel.  Here’s why.

By founding your own podcast channel, you are telling the world, “I am such an expert that I am able to create an entire channel around my knowledge.”  Sounds pretty audacious, doesn’t it?

Well, it is.  And that’s exactly the point.  Even as you squirm a little because that sounds pretty big, I know you have this.  You’ve been running your business long enough (and you’ve been in your field even longer) that you absolutely are an expert.

Feeling uncomfortable about creating all that content on your own?  Bring other experts onto your show to interview them, and your content will create itself!  This episode of my podcast gives great tips on how to do this really well right off the bat so your guests feel totally pampered and experience you as an expert colleague.

Holy Reach Batman!

The next thing that a podcast can do for your empire is reach new audiences.  The podcast apps use algorithms to recommend new and related podcasts to audiences, which means that you can get in front of people you otherwise wouldn’t have.

The critical thing is that you know this from the get-go so you can leverage this opportunity.  One of the biggest things I teach my clients is to always have a call to action prepared for any media exposure.  Don’t get me wrong — media exposure is awesome on its own, and absolutely helps elevate your authority, but if you have a ‘next step’ for readers or listeners to engage with you, you will build your followership and generate leads.

What does this mean for you as a podcast host?  Asking listeners to simply subscribe isn’t enough.  You need to welcome them into your empire in some way.  This may be by describing the exclusive show notes on your podcasting website where other offers are then made, or by inviting them to your empire’s Facebook group, or following on social media so you can speak to them about your latest offer when it comes.

Building an audience is fantastic, but you also need to consider how you’ll lead them from day one.

Network, network, network.

Finally, a podcast can build your network in a way that few other outlets can.  Why?  If you are hosting guests on your show (which I highly recommend), you have the opportunity to build your network with fellow experts.

This was the biggest mistake I made on my first podcast.  I go deeper into it in my podcasting guide, but, in short, I overlooked the opportunity I had to build my network by interviewing people who were fellow entrepreneurs.  Just as I expanded my reach to new audiences and followers, I also expanded my reach to other entrepreneurs who could have become colleagues and friends.

Luckily, we’re still connected on Facebook and LinkedIn, but I could have done so much more through the show.  Ask your guests if they need any help with current projects, invite them into your empire, and see if there is anything you can collaborate on.  You never know how these connections will amplify your work.

That’s it!  If you’re curious about starting your own podcast and want some help, sign up for my Audacious Podcasting Course.  Right now it’s only $27 (usually $97), so if you’ve had any notion you want to start a podcast, now is the time to explore it!

business development

The Power of AB Days

In 2016, my tech company was growing.  Fast.  I’d started scaling through systemizing, automation, and hiring a team, and by all counts it was going great.

Except that I was pulling my hair out to get the business admin work done.  I was so busy!  But I wasn’t too busy.  In fact, my hours were dropping.  Yet, whenever I felt like I finally had time to answer emails, develop documentation, or blog, a meeting came up, a phone call came in, and I lost my edge.  I’d be exhausted by 3pm and couldn’t work anymore.

Then I discovered AB Days, and everything changed.  I didn’t have to give up networking, client meetings, or strategy sessions with the team, but my productivity skyrocketed (as did my peace of mind).

What are AB Days?  Simply put, it’s a method for segmenting your time so you have the space to get shit done.  Literally, my A days are my action days.  These are the days I schedule clients, take meetings, network, and give my time to others.  I may get some business systems work done in between, but those days are set aside for meetings.

B days are my business days.  This is when the internal work happens, and my calendar is blocked.  Clients can’t schedule with me, I don’t go to coffee with colleagues, and I don’t take meetings.  Segmenting a day or two a week to truly move my business forward I can take meetings on my A days knowing that everything is getting done.

Check out my latest YouTube video on this topic.  Does this sound like a good idea for your business?

Entrepreneurship with Veronica

The 30/30/30 Goals Map

Welcome to 2019!  This year is already full of positive energy and growth.  I am so excited to see what this year holds for us, and I want to make sure you have the best year you possibly can.

With that, I’d like to tell you about my favorite goal setting method.  It comes straight out of my favorite book for business and growth, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.  Yes, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy.  I thought it was funny, too, when I first heard of the book.  Turns out, he has met and mingled with some seriously high achievers, not to mention the wild success of his own book series.

But I digress.

In his book, he describes what I have begun calling the 30/30/30 Goals Map.  This is one of the simplest yet in depth goal setting methods I know.

Draw three columns on a piece of paper.  The title each column “30 Things I Want to Have”, “30 Things I Want to Be”, and “30 Things I Want to Do”, respectively.  These are 30 things in each category that you want before you die.

The reason the 30/30/30 Goals Map is so powerful is that it creates a lifetime of goals.  When I first attempted it in 2015 I was faced with a sad reality:  I hadn’t been setting goals for myself.  I could only complete 5 for each category!

I worked at it, and finally completed each category in its entirety.  As it’s the beginning of the year, this is the perfect time to complete or review the Map.

Pleasantly, I’ve discovered that I have hit a lot of the goals I originally set.  Things like do a TED talk, publish a book, and travel internationally every other year.  I forgot about some of the items I had written down, but my subconscious hadn’t, and I was delighted to find that I’d hit milestones I totally forgot about!

Once you’ve set your goals, you’ll be able to break them down into milestones and tasks for the year.  This way, you’ll be more likely to hit your goals and stay on track for the entirety of 2019.

Check out my video explaining this method further, and let me know how it goes!  Let’s have an amazing 2019, folks.

Why Writers MUST Embrace Entrepreneurial Authorship to Succeed

As I was putting together my thoughts for a keynote appearance in Indianapolis, I began to think about the steps that brought me this incredible point in time. Simply put, I wrote a book. However, there is so much more hiding in the details.

Anyone writing a book today has many more opportunities to get their content in front of an audience than ever before. Traditional publishers still provide a solid foundation to anyone who lands a deal — contrary to what many information sources might lead one to believe.

Outlets like Amazon’s Kindle Direct and Lulu also provide writers with the ability to create and publish a physical or electronic volume. That means anyone who has written a book can get it into the public’s hands for a fairly small investment.

Other publishing possibilities also exist, such as partnerships with independent publishing houses (like I have for Stories of Elders). Indie publishers are often willing to take on newer authors and can provide them with a great foundation from which to launch a successful book and writing career.

Each of these has its pros and cons, but there is one important ingredient a book needs to become a success that crosses all of these paths and is often overlooked. It is something that I believe made it possible for me to research and write my book, fundraise on Kickstarter, find a publisher, manage the project, and garner the publicity it deserves.

Today, whether you self-publish, find a traditional publisher, or work with an Indie company, writing a book means being involved in almost every aspect of the project from start to finish.

So many people believe that a traditional publisher will grab the book from the writer’s hands while the proverbial ink is still wet and ship millions of copies to waiting bookstores around the world while the writer lounges by the pool waiting for royalty checks.

Not so much.

The “if you build it, they will come” mentality may have worked in 2000, before the advent of eReaders and self-publishing.  Today, billions of books are readily available to everyone, everywhere, many provided free online. Unless your book is put in their direct path, your potential reader will never know it exists.

Today’s writer must be a marketer, speaker, designer, and any of the other pieces of the puzzle that make up the Entrepreneurial Author. If you build it, you must then get to work making sure the reader can easily find it, will desire it, and can buy a copy in the format they choose.  Even the largest publishing houses won’t do this for you.

As a serial entrepreneur, I truly feel that my decade of business building ensured that I was equipped for the tasks required to write and distribute my book. Looking back, I can easily see how so much of my business and networking experiences directly impacted my ability to get the project done. Entrepreneurship basically made this book.

My path to becoming an Entrepreneurial Author began while running my tech company. While building the business I learned to manage projects, write copy, and build websites, all of which were important skills during and after the writing and editing process.

My entrepreneurial experiences empowered me to build the website for Stories of Elders, create a podcast of the interviews in the book, and syndicate the episodes to iTunes and Google Play. My design background meant that I had the vision to guide the book cover design, branding for my website, and any printed materials as well.

In the early days of my tech company, I spent a lot of time in coworking spaces making valuable connections with people who were busy with their own startup businesses. Many of those people had used Kickstarter to raise their first round of funding, and their knowledge was pivotal in my Kickstarter success (which I write about in detail here), as did my experience with online marketing.

The networking skills I learned as an entrepreneur helped me to find the people I needed to interview for Stories of Elders, and eventually led me to the publisher I am working with now. Without having been through the development and day to day management of my own company, I may not have completed and published my book.

If you want to write a book, you need to think of it as a business venture and approach the project with an entrepreneurial mindset. You must be willing and able to take on any of the tasks required, especially marketing your book — and yourself.  This means being honest with yourself about the tools in your toolbox, and reaching out to others who can help where you cannot.

Although the process may be easier if you have your own entrepreneurial background, surrounding yourself with knowledgeable, experienced entrepreneurs can help provide the necessary knowledge and experiences needed to do the job.

Don’t be afraid to write your book. Just start with some careful planning and don’t take the process lightly. Approach the project not only as a writer, but as an Entrepreneurial Author as well.

5 Books Your Business Can’t Live Without

If you’re anything like me, you like to download into your mind as much information from successful business leaders as you can.  Knowing what they did, how they did it, and the lessons they learned along the way has helped me so much in the success of my business.

Over nearly a decade of Entrepreneurship, I have read a lot of books.  Some were helpful, and some changed my work forever.  I want to share the ones that totally changed the game for me with you.

5. Built to Sell by John Warrillow

Why would I start by recommending a book to you that describes selling a business?  I realize that many of you never want to sell your businesses, but you still need to learn to scale them.  Built to Sell is written as a fiction but conveys critical lessons in building a business that gives you freedom, and it’s the book I used to scale my business and reduce my hours to 10/week.  Consider it a quick read into the 4-hour work week.

4. Tribes by Seth Godin

Leading a business is more than just numbers and organization.  Whether you realize it or not, you are leading a tribe with your brand.  It is critical to understand that sooner than later.  Seth Godin explains how to lead a tribe with your business without becoming owned by them.

3. Killing It! by Sheryl O’Laughlin

Look.  We all get sucked into our businesses.  We love what we do, right?  But our families and friends deserve our time, too, and it’s important to learn that balance.  Sheryl, the former CEO of Cliff Bar, shares how she learned this the hard way, and imparts some excellent business sense as well.

2. Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

Do you hate marketing?  Sales?  Networking?  You  need this book.  Michael Port has figured out how to turn these often unliked but necessary parts of business into simple tools that will bring in the cash.  His free companion workbook (downloadable after purchase of the book) makes his lessons even simpler to learn.

 1. The Success Principles by David Canfield

This book is ranked number one because it will effect absolutely every area of your life, including your business.  When I first came across this book I thought, “Really?  The Campbell’s Soup for the Soul guy?”  Still, I gave it a chance, and basically have my hair blown back every time I crack it open.  This book can move mountains.  If you choose only one book from this entire selection, make it this one.

I have been consuming books on business ever since I started my first venture in 2010, but it still took me years to fully understand and implement everything they were saying.  If you don’t want to wait that long, feel free to schedule an Upleveling Session with me to discuss the key take-aways that will affect your business, most.

Podcast: interviewing the originator of Telesummits

I was so excited to interview Milana Leshinsky for this episode of the Angles of Lattitude Podcast.  She is the originator of Telesummits — one of the most en-vogue marketing strategies for Coaches and Consultants, today.  Her perspective on the hype was exactly what I’d been thinking:  that just creating an event to build one’s list and sell sell sell isn’t what Telesummits were created for and won’t develop real connections.  Check out her interview:

Why your work week should be 10 hours or less

The 70-hour plus work week is a sham.  Pride in overwork is misdirection.  These cliche’s are completely false, and they are distracting thousands of Entrepreneurs from the truth:  something in your business is out of balance.

In fact, you could easily be working less than 10 hours a week on your business.   You should also be making more in those 10 hours than you did in the 70 hours you used to work.  Think I’m crazy?  Read on to learn more about the amazing effects of Scaling a business.

What’s out of whack?

If you are working more than 40 hours a week in order to earn a living, something is truly out of balance in your company.  Typically there are two possibilities – either you’re charging too little or your lead generation pipeline is broken.

Charging Too Little

It is all to common that women charge too little for their products and services.  Especially services.  Over and over I’ve seen my clients undervalue their time out of a place of giving.  I love that my clients have big hearts, but our time is valuable!  It is used to make sales, project manage, order inventory, and more.  If you give all your time for free, you will quickly find that you are hurting your company and its growth.

If you feel like you may be undercharging, look at your competitors — in all markets.  I happen to live in a city that has extremely low cost of living, so it would be easy to price myself lower than the true value of my work.  If I had done so and had a consultation with someone in New York City, they would have thought I was way underpriced (and probably not worth their time).  Your pricing matters, not only to ensure you make what you should, but so others believe in your worth.

Broken Pipes

Alternatively, you may be priced on par, but your lead pipeline is broken, so you’re spending way more time hustling for clients and customers than you should be.  I tend to see this in clients who equate sales with sleazy used car dealers (and the like).

First of all, sales and marketing are two different things.  Marketing is your pipeline.  Sales is what happens once someone reaches you through the pipeline.  You need both.

Look over your lead generation over the past few months.  How are you doing?  Did you get many leads but not convert them, or are you not getting many leads at all?

If you’re providing a service and either of these is broken for you, I highly suggest taking a look at the book “Book Yourself Solid“.  It walks you through creating your Target Market, how to talk about your business, and then how to create the pipeline for marketing your work.

But I’m the only one that can do this!

Wrong.  If you truly were the only person in the world that could do what you do, you would be making way more money, and probably for an institute or organization.  So let’s rework this mindset.

I used to think I was the only one who could create websites that went deep into my client’s target markets.  I certainly am the only website developer in my city that has a degree in Anthropology.  While that is unique, that didn’t make me the only person in the world who could do what I did — or even the only person in the city.

In fact, once I stopped being stubborn and started looking for someone who could do what I did, I found someone even better.  That’s right.   Instead of finding someone who was as good as I am, I found someone who is even better.  Not only does she have the ability to see into the minds of others, she is also certified in other tools that I am not, and dreams up way cooler design for our clients.

What about the techniques and systems I had created specifically for my company?  I trained her on those, and she rocks them out from her unique point of view.  Since hiring her, our portfolio has quadrupled, all because I now have more time to sell and market our services.

Hiring a VA

Perhaps you’re not ready for employees.  That’s alright.  You still are doing work you shouldn’t be, like scheduling your social media posts, writing up contracts or proposals, ordering supplies, and more.  Yes, you need to oversee some of this through daily, weekly, or monthly checkins, but you don’t need to be doing these things, yourself.

This is when an Intern, Virtual Assistant, or Personal Assistant is absolutely the right fit.  They can be available to you as little as one hour a week, and they free up the valuable time you use to bring home the bacon.  More time to sell and create partnerships equals more money!

I am a big fan of Shared Hands (my friend’s VA company) which is 100% based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The fabulous part of their service is if you do happen to grow to fill your Assistant’s time, you can buy out their contract and bring them on as an employee of your business.

Systems, systems, systems

Finally, it may be that you are spending too much time working simply because you need to systemize.  How much time do you spend scrambling when a new client comes on?  I once asked a new client how she would feel if she had ten new clients sign that day.  She said she’d probably run away — she didn’t know how she would manage onboarding that many clients.

The truth is ten new clients should make you jump for joy.  If it doesn’t, or if you feel like you’re spending extra time doing small tasks, it may be that you need better systems.  Take a look at your repetitive processes.  Is your contract standardized?  How do you onboard your clients?  Do you have standard milestones that can be a part of an automated system?

Some of these things must be created internally, but some of them can be outsourced to an app.  For example, I found I was spending a lot of time emailing back and forth to schedule meetings.  I now use an app called Calendly which does it for me.  Some CRMs come with automation that handles your entire sales process for you.  Make use of such services to ensure your time is free to do the work that matters — and to see your family once in a while.

Podcast: the hilarious Tim Paige tells us about voice acting

Saying that I had fun interviewing Tim Paige would be the understatement of 2018.  My cohost JC and I couldn’t stop laughing.  I don’t even know if everything we discussed was “business friendly”.  I hope you have a listen and enjoy the episode, yourself!