Creating Your Personal Story

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Creating Your Personal Story

"I'd like to share my personal story for my business, but I don't have anything interesting to share...nothing has ever happened to me!"

This is what my client said just before I reminded her that she had a memorable personal story. A very memorable one.

I share her story in today's video, but I also share the importance telling your personal story along with some tips and guidelines on how to create your story to tell.

We all know how easy it can be to get caught up in what we are doing and what we have planned to do. When this happens, we don't often stop to think about why we are here in the first place.

Surely, you are familiar with the concept of your big "why". Simon Sinek explains it beautifully in his TED Talk (link below).

Your "why" is the reason behind everything you do. It is so important to you because it helps to motivate and keep you driven, even when times are tough.

Your "why" is equally important to your current and prospective clients. It helps them relate to you and believe in your business. Basically, it is the backbone of the "like" and "trust" portions of The Know, Like, and Trust Factor.

Your personal story is such a big part of this and I want to share a few tips on how to create your story to share as a part of your business.

  • Be clear and concise. Make sure there is a clear path from where you were to where you are. Don’t go off on tangents or be long winded. The goal is for people to clearly see how your story contributes to your why.
  • Describe your transformation as it relates to the work you do today. This explains what drives you to you wake up to do what you do every day.
  • Highlight your beliefs and values. They are what initiated and drove your transformation.
  • Be authentic and tell the truth! Don’t embellish or lie. Don’t take someone else’s story (or part of it) and use it as your own. Remember, people smell BS a mile away.

You don’t have to have gone through something dramatic to have a valuable personal story to share. Here are a couple of other ideas to help get you started if you are stuck...

  • Nothing motivates change and action faster than a necessity - maybe you can think back to the beginning where you had a need that motivated you to take action. Perhaps your business started because you were sick and tired of not being able to pay your bills.
  • A problem or source of pain you saw in others. So, maybe your transformation didn’t start because of something you experienced directly. Perhaps it was something you’ve seen others go through. Maybe you are a financial counselor who has seen too many people you care about live a life of stress and anxiety because of their poor financial management, or maybe you're a health coach who has witnessed loved ones get sick because they've neglected their health and nutrition, or perhaps you are a relationship expert who got started in your business after seeing the painful effects of toxic relationships, and maybe you were compelled to help.
  • Doing something better. Lots of business owners gain valuable experience while working for someone else, maybe even in the corporate world. Lots of business owners got started because identified a need and a way to improve what they were doing, by taking the leap and doing it on their own. 

Your goal with sharing your personal story is not to be manipulative, and this is not a time for selling.

It is an opportunity for your clients and prospective clients to relate to you by getting a transparent view of your values, beliefs and ultimately your business.

Sharing your personal story in a thoughtful way as a part of your business will always serve as a reminder of your why for you and your clients and I encourage you to make it a part of your message today.

Now I want to hear from you. What are the values and beliefs behind your personal story? And, how have they shaped your business today? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

PS - here's that link I promised. It's worth a watch if you haven't seen it.
Simon Sinek TED Talk:  How Great Leaders Inspire Action

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Think You're Ready To Quit Your Day Job?

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Think You're Ready To Quit Your Day Job?

Woohoo! If you are thinking about quitting your day job to work full-time in your business, you are obviously making some money and likely seeing some growth. Congratulations!

The thought of leaving the security of your paycheck to pursue your passion is both exciting and scary. How do you know when the time is right to quit your day job, or as I like to call it, "taking the leap"?

Whenever people ask me that question, I always think of a quote from Dave Ramsey:

You’ve got to pull the boat as close to the dock as you can before stepping off.
— Dave Ramsey

In other words, you want to make sure you can come as close as possible to covering your expenses with your business before "taking the leap" and leaving the security of your paycheck. 

Your timing is crucial here, and I want to encourage you NOT to jump the gun. 

Nothing will crush your spirit and progress in your business faster than having to worry about how you are going to pay your bills.

So how do you figure out when the timing is right?

It's all about the numbers. You've got to know them. If you don't, your first step is to get on a clear written budget for BOTH your business and personal finances. (I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey's online budgeting tool, I'll provide the link below).

Once you've got a clear picture of what is coming in and out, you can see how close you are to being able to cover your expenses with the money your business is bringing in. 

Be sure to use your actual numbers here, NOT what you have projected.

Why? You ask.

Because your expenses and financial responsibilities are very real. 

If you don't hit those projected numbers, you'll be in a situation that you've worked way to hard to be in. If you do hit those projected numbers...great! Now you've got more money to use to pay off your debt or reinvest in your business. Either way, you win, and so does your business.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

PS - here is the link to Dave Ramsey's online budgeting tool that I promised:  https://www.everydollar.com/
 

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The Know, Like, and Trust Factor

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The Know, Like, and Trust Factor

All things being equal, people do business with, and refer business to people they know, like and trust.
— Bob Burg, Endless Referrals

Are you familiar with the Know, Like, and Trust Factor?

It is the one thing you must do in order to attract ideal clients and boost your sales.

Increasing your Know, Like, and Trust Factor is a clear way to grow your business and fill your client list with ideal clients that are happy to pay for your products or services and offer glowing referrals for working with you.

Let’s break it down a bit and talk about some ways you can increase your know, like, and trust factor.

First, let’s talk about “The Know” portion:

You can't be a success and the best kept secret at the same time.

People can’t become your clients if they don’t even know about you! Here are a few ways you can make sure more people know you and about you:

  • Create meaningful content and be consistent. People want the content you are putting out there, but consistency is crucial! People tend to forget things that are out of sight, so even if your content is amazing, if you’re delivering it sporadically or randomly, you’re likely to be forgotten. Make sure you create a schedule and stick to it.
  • Participate in local events. This is a great way to increase your visibility and your credibility. And because you’ll be meeting people face to face, it is a great way to establish relationships.
  • Contribute as a guest blogger. This is a powerful way to offer meaningful content to a wider audience and could very well be the fastest way to grow your audience.
  • Offer support and insight in relevant online forums. Chances are that you are a part of at least one group online where you can become a part of the conversation. Be sure that your contribution is genuine and helpful. Just like in real life, online conversations shouldn’t be forced or phony. And if you’re not a part of an online group that’s relevant to your business...get on that. Find out where your colleagues and clients are hanging out online, and be there too.

Next, “The Like” portion. I want to be clear in that this isn’t a popularity contest. One of my favorite sayings is, “a friend to everyone is a friend to no one”.

You simply can’t attract your ideal clients by trying to attract anyone and everyone.

The key here is to be genuine and authentic.

Be you. If you’re quirky, be quirky. If you’re more reserved, be reserved.

People can smell BS a mile away and at the very least, trying to be something you aren’t will water down your message
and your brand and will be awkward and boring to anyone listening.

Practice makes perfect and the more content you create, the more comfortable you will be at putting yourself out there. One easy trick for making sure you sound like you is to have your best friend, your sister, your
spouse, or someone who really knows you, check out your content. They’ll be able to tell you right away if it authentically sounds like you.

Finally, let's talk about “The Trust” portion.

  • Don’t be afraid to share your story. Let your audience get to know you. The real you. And how you arrived where you are today. You don’t have to share everything, and you certainly don’t have to get overly personal, but do share the transformation you went through and how it relates to your business before becoming what you are today. This helps people know that you are the real deal and aren’t just in it for a quick buck. It also helps you establish a real, meaningful connection with your audience.
  • Give away some of your best stuff for free. If you have a program or a workshop, offer highlights or snippets for free. Maybe this is what you base your signature talk on while you are speaking at local events, or maybe you offer this content in really juicy, high-value blog posts. Either way, this lets your audience know they can trust that they aren’t being sold.
  • Use your testimonials. Sharing other people’s positive experiences in working with you, offers social proof to prospective clients that they can trust you.
  • Don’t be spammy. Treat your list and your audience like people, and treat them like gold. We often hear a lot about list size, and ways to grow your list, but it’s really important to remember that your list is made up of people just like you. They have hopes, dreams, and families and responsibilities that make them too busy to care or open emails that don’t offer real value.

I know that there are so many things that you need to do while you start and grow your business. My hope is that if you keep these things in your mind, your efforts will have a much bigger impact.

Now I want to hear from you. How have you incorporated the know like and trust factor in your work and how has that impacted the connection you have with your audience and ultimately, your business? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

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Creating Systems in Your Business

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Creating Systems in Your Business

I love the topic of productivity because it doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in your business, there are no special skills required to increase your productivity.

Anyone can make changes to their daily habits and the way they work and see a very positive impact as a result.

In today's video, I talk about one of the ways you can increase your productivity and help keep things running smoothly. Spoiler alert:  I'm talking about creating systems. 

A system, which can also be called a workflow, is an organized set of processes. Basically, it is the way something is done from beginning to end.

The process of creating systems doesn’t have to be complicated at all, like I said, anyone can do this.

Let’s break it down so that you can see exactly how systems can help you, and how you can create one.

When you have a system in place, it makes your process repeatable. Which means that you won’t need to constantly reinvent the wheel every time you go to do something, and you can be confident that you haven’t left out any important details or steps.

It also means that you no longer have to do evvvverrrrrything 
yourself.

With a system in place, you can have someone else on your team take over certain responsibilities, and you can be confident that they’ll be done the way you want them to.

I know that you're not the type of person that needs to be done the same way you’ve done them just because you’ve always done them that way. And that's a good thing, because one of the biggest benefits of having a written system in place is that it makes it even easier to edit and improve your operations.

Systems give you a clear account of each part of the process from beginning to end, making it even easier to identify pain points, bottlenecks (a specific place where progress is being slowed down) or anything that just needs improvement.

So, how do you create a system?

  1. Look at all of the things you are doing in your business. The best place to start is with what already works - chances are that you’ve already got some really great systems in place, but haven’t documented them. If you have a process that is running smoothly, now is a great time to create a system or workflow for it. (Once you get the hang of doing this for the areas that are running smoothly, move onto the areas that need a little more work and create systems for them).
  2. Map it out - write out the steps and processes involved in your system. You'll want to include important details, but try to keep it as simple as possible and if it’s possible, leave a little wiggle room so that your steps aren’t so rigid. This wiggle room gives the person you are handing your system off to the opportunity to help you improve the system as you go.
  3. Edit and improve as you go. Never be so attached to the system that you aren’t able to see areas for opportunity and improvement.

So that is your system for creating systems.

The more you are able to create systems or workflows around things that you need to do to keep your business running smoothly, the easier it will be to do just that.

My challenge for you today is to take a look at the different areas of your business. Where can you create a system based on something you are already doing? And, where can you create systems to improve the areas that might not be working so well. Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

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How to Deal With a Negative Review Online

No one wants to receive a negative review online, and the reality is that no business is immune to the potential of receiving one.

Not if your business deals with people in any way, shape, or form.

We all know that positive reviews are so important in offering social proof to prospective customers and clients considering investing in working with you.

A negative review can actually help you as well. At the very least, it doesn't have to be completely damaging. 

Your response to a negative review is crucial, and helps set the tone for future readers of the review, i.e. prospective customers and clients.

Take a look at today's video. I talk about a few things to keep in mind, and I outline the LATTE method that I discovered in The Power of Habit (link below) to help guide you in crafting a meaningful response.

 

The LATTE method is the way Starbucks trained its employees to respond to customer complaints. I think that having a guide like this is so helpful in taking some of the stress out of the whole I-just-received-my-first-negative-review-online-and-am-totally-freaking-out situation.

Basically, LATTE is a clever acronym:

Listen. It is so important to truly listen to what your client is saying. Take what they are saying to heart, but don’t take it personally.

Acknowledge their complaint.

Take action to solve the problem. Here’s where you have the opportunity to make it right for your clients and future clients. If you are responding to a post online or following up on negative feedback you’ve received individually, you might let them know of a new policy that you are implementing to prevent the problem from occurring again. The important thing is that you follow through with whatever action you decide on.

Thank them. Genuinely thank them for their feedback. All reviews, even negative ones can open your eyes to something you'd like to change in your business. This feedback is valuable.

Explain why the problem occurred. Keep this as brief and to the point as possible.

One great thing about using a tool like the LATTE method is that you don't only have to use it when responding publicly to a negative review online, but you can also use it as a guide when responding to negative feedback that a client or customer gives you privately. 

Your clients are savvy, they don't expect you to be perfect all the time.

They do, however, expect you to be accountable and willing to make things right whenever you can. Knowing that you have something to help guide you through the process can make it a whole lot less stressful. 

Have you ever received a negative review online? What did you find helpful in creating your response? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

P.S. If you haven't already read The Power of Habit, I recommend that you add it to your reading list. http://charlesduhigg.com/books/the-power-of-habit/

 

 

 

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Overwhelmed? Clear Your Mind In One Simple Step

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Overwhelmed? Clear Your Mind In One Simple Step

Have you ever been so overwhelmed and stressed out that it put you in a productivity freeze? I know I have.

Sometimes it is in the form of a sleepless night thinking about all of the things I need and want to do, or staring at my laptop surfing the web and distracting myself on social media instead of attacking my real to-do list.

There is a way to clear your mind so you can get back to your day/sleep/work/family...and get back to being productive AND you can do it in as little as a few minutes. I’m not talking about meditation. I’m talking about doing a brain dump!

In today’s video, I talk about how a brain dump works, how to do one, and what to do next so that you can make the most of your brain dump. Take a look!

As entrepreneurs, we have a lot on our plates, between our businesses, our families and all of the things we need to get done in our personal and professional lives. When we get caught up in all of it, it can be hard to actually get anything done.

A brain dump is so easy and effective. Trust me, it works. 

Now, I want to hear from you! In the comments below, let me know:

Have you ever done a brain dump and how did it help you? How do you make doing brain dumps a regular part of your routine?

Keep doing what you love.

Erica

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How to Make The Most of a Side Job While Starting Your Business

It is so common for people to work additional, or side jobs while trying to get their businesses off the ground. So many of the people I work with just dread going to those jobs and literally count the minutes from the time they get there until the time they can leave. That’s because they are so passionate about the businesses they are trying to get started.

While that can very well serve as motivation to work even harder to get your business going, it can also be really exhausting and draining. It can rob you of the passion and energy you need during the early days in your business.

I decided to create a video to help you reframe the way you might think about your side job (or jobs). For the purpose of this video, I’m going to refer to anything that’s not your business as your side job. Take a look.

Hindsight is always 20/20. How many times have you said, “If I only knew then what I know now."? The truth is that you can learn a whole lot from your side jobs, and this experience can be valuable and relevant to your future business.

This is true no matter what your side job is.

The early days in your business are so important. They can be exhausting, and scary as they are often filled with uncertainty. They are also filled with tons of opportunities to learn and become a better business owner.

Take advantage of those opportunities and the resources you have available to you, even if they come in a surprising form via your side job.

Trust and enjoy the process and show up 100%. Every day.

I’d LOVE to hear from you. Do you have a story about how an experience at a side job actually helped you in starting your business? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

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Keep Your Eye on the Prize

My husband has been a competitive cyclist all of his life, so when I decided that I wanted to give cycling a try, he was really excited to teach me more about the sport.

One of the most interesting things that he taught me is how to avoid an obstacle, like a pothole, or a tree branch in the road.

He told me that you can acknowledge that the obstacle is there, but in order to avoid it, you have to look away from it.

It sounds crazy, but this is a very real phenomenon! There’s even a name for it, it’s called target fixation and it can be kind of dangerous if it causes you to steer toward things you really want to avoid.

I got to thinking about how the concept of target fixation applies to business and life, and how easy it can be to “steer” toward obstacles (distractions) in our businesses. hat's what today's video is about...

The good news is that you can use target fixation to your benefit. Set your focus on your goals and the path you want to take.

Target fixation tells us that when we fixate on our target, we also tend to ignore other obstacles.

Obviously, you always want to be aware of obstacles and potential hazards when you are riding a bike or driving a car, but in our businesses and lives, when those obstacles are distractions keeping us from being productive and doing what we truly want to, ignoring and avoiding them is a really great thing.

I want to give you a few practical and easy steps to use target fixation to your advantage and to help you to keep your eye on the prize.

  • Write down 3-5 of your goals.
  • Post them where you can see them (at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, anywhere you won’t miss them). 
  • Pay attention to them when you notice them. Take a moment to read them each time.

This is a really simple exercise and while it certainly won’t guarantee that you reach your goals, it’ll help you steer toward them by serving as a constant reminder of what you’ve truly set out to do.

Have you ever experienced target fixation? How do you keep your eye on the prize even with distractions competing for your attention? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

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Why You Should Use Personal Policies

A few months ago, I had my second baby. Man, is he cute. And chubby. I must admit that I haven’t been as active as I would have liked to during my pregnancy.

So, here I am getting back at it, starting from the beginning.

I was on a run with my dog, Cody the other day, and I was really struggling. I was breathing hard, red faced, heart pounding, you get it...I was ready to drop.

I thought for sure, Cody was, too. I mean, I was taking him on the workout of his life, right? Uh, no. When I looked down at him, he was walking very comfortably. WALKING! COMFORTABLY!

I decided that it was time to implement a personal policy, right then and there, to help me become a stronger runner.

Today’s video is all about making personal policies work for you. Never made one? Take a look…

A policy is a predetermined course of action or way of doing something. It can really be used to your advantage.

Relying on a policy allows you to only have to make a potentially difficult decision once instead of reviewing things on a case by case basis or as they come up.

Personal policies are a great way to help keep you on track for something you are working toward. They can really keep you accountable and serve as a guide to help you move closer to your goals.

How do personal policies work for you? What personal policies can you commit to creating today to help you be more productive in your business and life? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.
Erica

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The Comparison Trap

Just about everyone can recall feeling completely inadequate just by seeing someone else totally killing it.

Sometimes this happens when we see someone who’s just a little ahead of us.

Our minds trick us into believing we aren’t as good, or good enough, since we aren’t already there killing it, too.

What a terrible feeling! It’s often referred to as the Comparison Trap because that’s exactly what it is...a trap!

In this video, I talk about how awful the Comparison Trap is, and what to do if you find yourself there. Take a look!

Anytime you judge yourself based on someone else’s (perceived) success it is based in fear.

That is why there is no scenario in which the Comparison Trap is good for you.

The Comparison Trap allows fear to be the voice of reason. So uncool.

So, you’ve found yourself in the Comparison Trap and your mind is spinning.

What do you do?

Give up? Stop your business/blog/being a mom/wife/friend/fill in the blank just because it seems like someone is already doing it all, and better than you?

Hell no.

The good news is that there is a way out, but it might take a little intention.

Here’s what to do next time you find yourself stuck in the Comparison Trap:

  • Shut it down. Stay off of social media, avoid blogs or posts that commonly make you crazy with comparison.

  • Acknowledge and admit that what you are seeing, and ultimately comparing yourself to, is someone else’s highlight reel -- snippets of someone else’s best moments or their best self - the image they want the world to see. You have no way of knowing what happens after the camera goes off, or what it took them to get to where they are today. This is a great reminder that things are not always what they seem. It isn’t fair or reasonable to compare yourself to the best highlights of someone else’s life because ultimately, it has nothing to do with you!

  • Meet it with gratitude instead of negativity. (This is the best advice given to me about avoiding the Comparison Trap). Whenever you see a someone else do, have, or accomplish something you want to, look at it as evidence of what is possible. If someone else is doing it, there is a reason for it to exist, and it is proof that you can do it too.

  • Say thank you. Get out of the habit of feeling negatively toward the person or people you typically compare yourself to. Instead, (silently, to yourself), thank them for showing you what’s possible. When you make this your habit, you truly change from coming from a place of fear to a place of gratitude. Then, you’ll be able to enjoy feeling more calm, more confident, and you’ll be able to make room to bring passion into your work and to truly do what brings you to life.

I think we can all agree that the Comparison Trap is not helping anyone. Get out there and focus on you, or as they say, do you.

Have you ever found yourself in the Comparison Trap? How do you get out? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep doing what you love.

Erica

 

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