Recently a client posted a reflection in our Coaching Club Facebook Group. Stacey Montgomery of Stacey M. Design has been a client for a little over a year. What she shared is a story most can relate to and learn from.......
From Stacey to the Facebook Group, "I was originally going to send this post in an email to Michelle, but decided to share it with everyone in our group. It explains about my journey over the last few years and how I got to this phase of my business. It also explains why I am so excited. My excitement about this phase goes beyond the fact that I created a guided journal that I think will help kids. It represents me finally figuring out how to do what I want my business to do.
Like many other entrepreneurs I had it in my head exactly where I wanted to take my business, but had not quite figured out how to do it. The things I was doing were fine, but there has been a feeling in the back of my mind that I still had not hit on it. So, here is the email that I drafted to send to Michelle that explains my mental journey and why where I am today truly puts me at peace. Sorry that it is so long."
The email written by Stacey, "I must say that yesterday's mastermind/workshop was great! Yes, they are all great and I have gotten a lot of value out of each one. However, usually I get a lot more value out of the mastermind than the workshop. Yesterday they were equally valuable to me.
I think the reason is that even though I have had this business for about 2 decades over the last 5 years or so I have been struggling to figure out where to take it next. The personalization was getting me down and paper products in general were not selling the way they once did.
So when it was time for the workshop yesterday, I truly had stuff to think about and plan that made sense for my overall mission and I was truly excited.
Anyway, this is a long email to say that a lot of what you have been teaching is resonating with me more now because I finally figured out that long-elusive thing—how to move my business forward in a way that is scalable and in a way that maintains the spirit of what I have been trying to do all these years. :-) I look forward to next month's mastermind/workshop. BTW-- this does not mean I am getting rid of the rest of my product line. I am not. :-)
Want to learn more about Stacey M. Design and all the awesome products she's created? Visit Stacey at https://staceymdesign.com/. Want to learn about how you can start looking at your business in a deeper way? Check out the upcoming Magnify Your Marketing program that Stacey attended in November or the Marketing Morsels Coaching Club that she has been in for over a year.
Ever wondered what it looks like to be intentional in your business each and every quarter? Today I'm giving you a SNEAK PEEK into what my last quarter has been like. I started the year determined to put my business first by doing quarterly retreats with myself. You see, I walked my clients through taking a deep dive each quarter last year, but I never took the time to do the same for my business.
ventured out online I could begin fishing in a new sea.
As I looked at my plans drawn all over big white papers on the hotel walls, I realized that my quarter 1 focus needed to be getting online. I also realized that I didn't have the skill base (or time!) to do it in a way that would accomplish my goals. So, I would need to pull in an online team to carry this out for me. Knowing my goals were ambitious, the Jan priority was to find the right team so that the revenue could shift as quickly as possible (I talked about that process in my blog a few weeks back. Check that out here.)
When I looked at the revenue that would come in for the camp trainings versus the revenue from the online trainings, it became clear very quickly that I needed to put camp trainings into the parking lot and revisit them in 2018. This was a difficult thing to do because I LOVE working with camp staff and setting them up for an amazing summer.
Fast forward to the last week of March when I assessed my first quarter and began planning for the second quarter. I'm so glad that I made the decision to put the camp training on the back burner because it allowed me to fully focus on my most important goal for 2017. I found the team in January and we began working in February. They've spent a couple months getting me out on social media and testing the results they get with each action. They've also spent time really getting to know me....and in turn forcing me to really get clear on what I do and to refine my services. This initiative is one that should start showing it's results in quarter 2 and continue to build in quarters 3 and 4, as well as in years to come.
As I sit and reflect on the last quarter and what I most need for quarter two, I realize that what I need is to add to my support team. I've spent way too much time in quarter one working at night and on the weekends and that's not in alignment with what i want for my business or my family. Unfortunately I had no choice because the business was going through such a growth phase and the money wasn't there to pay for additional support beyond the online team. I'm confident, though, that I'll be able to focus on this goal in quarter two. That's because revenue will start coming in during this quarter as a result of the things we've done in quarter one. Since I know adding to the support team is important, I will place money into a savings designated for this purpose. That way if an unexpected fluctuation in revenue occurs I won't have to go back to working crazy night and weekends.
In a couple weeks I'll be going on my retreat for the second quarter. This retreat will be different than my first one because it's a personal retreat. I'm going by myself and taking time to be still and reflect on the things I want in life. I'll also be forming a foundation for continuing to be still during the quarter ahead, despite how busy life gets. Every January for the past 4 years, I've gone on a retreat with Beth Majersky of Simply Be Coaching and Retreats. I wasn't able to go this January and thought my time at the hotel would take it's place. As the year drew on, I realized how vital that piece was to my year and reached out to Beth to get it scheduled for April. Knowing that the focus of the retreat was personal, I still knew I had to take the time to deep dive on my business and I did that at home this past week.
If you're reading this and thinking you would like to be more intentional in your business, I have some great ways that I can support you in doing that:
Hey there- hope your week has been a good one! Mine has been filled with TONS of introspection about the businesses. I blocked Wed out to create my 2017 Marketing Plan and to my surprise I flew right through the process. You may be wondering, "You teach people how to do this and it's already the end of March. Why are you just doing it now?" Well, that's because it's the shoemaker's kid syndrome. I was so busy supporting my clients in developing their plans that I never had time to create my own. Or so I thought. Little did I know that the project wasn't as big as I was making it in my head and that it would flow so easily.
So, now you are wondering, "If it can be done in a day, then why do clients need to go through your Magnify Program and spend 3 intensive days working with you to create their plan?" Well, that's because not everyone knows what to put into a plan and not everyone will give themselves the gift of blocking the time (heck- look at how long it took me to finally block the time!). Plus, when they take the course I hand hold them through the entire process and give valuable input based on the many businesses who have completed the process before them. They also get a group of like-minded business owners to bounce ideas off of.
Curious to learn more about the Magnify Program? Ready to take time to reflect and build a successful 2017? Click the image below to learn more.
Yesterday I spent the day hanging out with Ben on his school field trip. He's been asking me all year to sign up as a chaperone and the timing always conflicted with things on the business calendar. Yesterday was no different, however the business event was a networking meeting so it was a little easier to miss. To compensate for the lack of face time with the wonderful ladies in attendance, and the lack of admin time before and after, I got very strategic and intentional throughout the past week. I knew that by doing so, I'd see much success!
Here are some of the things I did:
So often we all strive for balance and when we don't get it, we feel defeated. Balance on a daily basis is an illusion. The key is to try and find balance within a week or month. As you can see from my example above, not every day can be perfectly balanced. We can, though, take time at the start of a week or a month to remember what's most important to us, both at work and home, and build time for each into our plans.
Something exciting has happened this week that I wanted to share with you! The online promotion for my April Magnify Your Marketing Program has officially launched. This promotion includes a lead page that was created and daily Facebook Ads for the next 5 weeks leading up to the program.
The best (and most exciting!) part about this for me is that I AM NOT DOING IT!!!! That's right, I've hired a team to take care of this for me. Sure, I could have done this myself but the results would NOT have been the same because my knowledge is only basic and my time is limited. In the weeks ahead you'll see some cool things unfolding and I'll share different tips with you about what I've been learning from my awesome team.
MEET MY AWESOME TEAM
You may be wondering why I chose the Digital Hook. Honestly, I've been looking for the right team for about 3 years now. James is in my Bolingbrook Chamber Bang 2 Referral Group. I've been observing him since early last fall. I'd listen to things he'd say at meetings and pick up little nuggets in passing conversations. The more I heard, the more I felt they were the ones. In a brief 3 min conversation after one meeting, James shared about how he LOVES the clients that don't believe online marketing can get results. He quickly shared how he enjoys proving them wrong and seeing the joy they get when their business suddenly grows by leaps and bounds. Jame's wife, Tawanna recently left her job to be full-time with the business. Seeing how James was able to replace his own 6 figure job, and is set up to do the same with his wife's job, showed that he has traveled my path of leaving a high level job and opening a business to replace that income. Additionally, Jame's family is very important to him and his kids are part of the business, just like my Z&B. They say "People Buy People" and that is so true. That's always the most important part of a buying decision for me.
This time, though, was different. I have VERY AMBITIOUS goals for 2017 and it's crucial that 1) I don't try to accomplish them on my own and 2) I have a team supporting me that has taken other businesses to the places I'm looking to go. Once my gut knew The Digital Hook was the team, I continued to observe. This time it was listening to others that have used them and hearing about their results. That's what finally sold me and I'm happy to say that every minute of my working with them has EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS!
There are a couple others that I know well that passed the "People Buy People" test. Although I did not chose them to be the online team for Z&B's promotion, I will be pulling them in to be part of my support team and will tell you all about them in future editions.
If you write a blog or put out a newsletter (or have been thinking about starting one), you may have wondered from time to time "Is anyone reading what I write?" or "Is it even worth the time I am taking?". This subject has gotten a lot of traction the past week amongst my Coaching Club clients. It first started in the Facebook group and later came up again in our Monthly Mastermind/Workshop yesterday. Here's a little of the wisdom that myself and others shared.
First, EVERYONE is NOT going to read our stuff and that's OK. The world is simply on information overload. When we write, our goal should be two-fold:
One of my clients, Jessica Olivito of the Sozo Group sent out a great newsletter this week. Discussion about it came up in the group and we had people who identified with scenario #1 above and people who identified with scenario #2. I was in scenario #2 and explained how warmed my heart was when I saw the email come through and how I skimmed it and clicked the link but didn't have time to delve into reading. Most people will be in #2, which is frustrating knowing how long we take to put out a newsletter.
What can we learn from this?
Repurposing may seem like tons more work. The point is not to stress, or to add more to your list of to-do's. Instead, to look at your to-do list and see where you can cut work down by using some of what you've already done. Once you do, you'll feel excited because you've taken 1 task that takes so much time and maximized that effort by increasing your visibility and the # of people who see it. The information above, for example, was copied from a comment I posted in my Facebook group.
Let me leave you with a few tips that came from a mastermind discussion. The question proposed to the group was "What do you look for when you decide to read a newsletter?" The responses varied with each person. The lesson here was to be your true self and those who are meant to be attracted to you will be. For those who aren't, that's totally ok. What else did the group share they look for in a newsletter?
The biggest take-away, which pairs well with the information shared above, was "Less is more!"
Would you love to have a community to discuss topics like this with? What about a coach to provide wisdom and guidance when you need it? If you answered yes! then the Marketing Morsels Coaching Club could be for you. In addition to accessing the Facebook Support Group, you'd attend Monthly Mastermind/Workshops, Monthly Co-Working time and Monthly Q&A calls all for only $125/mo or $599. Learn more here about this 6 month program.
This past week I spoke at two women’s networking groups. At each I asked the question, “Do you set aside time to work ON your business?”. At one talk I was asked for clarification. “Do you mean, do we leave white space in our calendar?” To which I answered, that depends.
You see, I used to use the white space method to leave time to work ON my business but it didn’t work for me. Why? That’s because someone would ask me for time to meet and I would see the white space and schedule a meeting there. Or I’d be exhausted from such a busy week and would just decide to do nothing. I quickly learned that the work that needed to be done for my business wasn’t happening. Now, I put intentional appointments in my calendar for the work I know needs to be done and then the white space truly is white space. For others who aren't wired the way I am, the white space method does work. The reason it doesn't work for me is because I’m a very social person and I thrive on interactions with others. I much prefer to be meeting with someone than to be doing things by myself. (Remember that SWOT Analysis I mentioned last week? Did you download Ch. 4 in my book and do yours? If not, here’s the link again.)
Working ON your business simply means doing the things that need to be done for your business to function. This includes things as simple as keeping track of mileage and receipts, as well as things like taking time to contemplate which revenue stream is performing the best for you. It also includes time to deepen your knowledge about your area of expertise and reaching out to key people (past clients, referral partners and current clients) just to say hi. Clients in my Marketing Morsels Coaching Club take the 1st Thursday of each month to work ON their business at our Mastermind/Workshop. Those in my Magnify Your Marketing program take 3 intensive days to work ON their business by developing a business and marketing plan. So often we get bogged down with serving clients, networking and responding to emails that we lose sight of the other things that need to be done for our business to grow and be successful.
So, next time you plan your week or your month, take time to consider the often forgotten higher level tasks (or the simply mundane ones) and set time aside for them. As you regularly put this practice into place, you’ll start seeing positive results and be glad you did. Comment below and tell us where you land when it comes to spending time ON your business. I’d love to know.
Looking to build more time into your calendar to work ON your business with others? Why not join the Marketing Morsels Coaching Club. Come as a guest to our Monthly Mastermind/Workshop! They are always the 1st Thursday of the month and the next one is next Thursday, March 2nd. Use this link to learn more and register. Use the code COMPLIMENTARY to come as one of my guests. (Space is limited so register right away. Registration ends on Tues, 2/28.)
Have you ever wasted 30 min? If you’re like me, chances are you spend a lot of time saying to yourself “I just wasted 30 min.” What happens for me is that I get ready to work on a project and then something bounces into my mind that I needed to do. I'm sure it will only take a couple minutes…..and it does. The problem is that during those couple minutes, one of two things often happens:
Recently I was on a Q&A Call with my Coaching Club clients and the topic was time management. There were 9 of them on the call and each took time to share some tips and tricks they use to manage situation #1 above. In addition to each person being inspired by some new ideas, and the fact that they aren’t alone in this pattern, two themes came to light.
Situation # 2 above is different than #1 and we actually didn’t talk about that on our call. Often when I say “I just wasted 30 min”, I just finished scenario #2. I did that 1 thing that I thought would take a couple minutes and then did a few more 20 min things. As a matter of fact, I’m currently in this cycle as I write this blog post.
The "a-ha" that came to mind as I was saying, “I just wasted 30 min” was that I hadn’t. However, I say that all the time and cause myself to feel bad. I also lead those around me to think I wasn’t working (like family or my team or my clients). People think what we tell them. So, we need to change how we think and what we say. The reality is that I WAS doing work during the 30 min and it wasn’t wasted time, it was important. It just wasn’t on the list of things I had planned to do.
How do we get around this? The solution really is to stop overscheduling ourselves and to schedule buffers into our day. As I’ve paid attention to the tasks I’ve done this week, I’ve realize most of it wasn’t how I planned it to go. It also wasn’t wasted time, even though I said and thought it was. Each thing I did was something important that had to be done, often times it was something I didn’t realize needed to be done until I was in the situation.
By allowing space in our day we allow these things to be taken care of without associated guilt. We aren’t robots and our lives don’t happen in controlled environments. By allowing space in our schedules we can avoid feeling out of control when the unexpected comes up, as we know it will.
So, the next time you go to plan your day don’t schedule every single hour. Leave an hour or two for the administrative things you will need to do like checking email, returning that call, scheduling that meeting, updating that form, making lunch or breakfast, reading a book. While you’re at it, leave an hour or two that is totally blank. Something will come up that needs to fill the space and you’ll be glad it’s there. If nothing does, you’ll suddenly have free time to do something fun. How cool would that be?!
Here's a quick summary of how my year unfolded:
As you can see 2017 is going to be a busy year and a year that continues to build my foundation. This year's word is SURRENDER. It reminds me each day that I need to get out of my own way and surrender. Surrender by letting others help me, surrender by listening for God's guidance before just doing it myself and surrender to new ways and giving up old habits.
What is your word of the year? What was your focus in 2016 and what will your focus be in 2017? Please share in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!
Hey there- I want to apologize to those of you who started reading my blog ages ago because I haven't written to you in quite a while. I sincerely care about you and realize you probably EXPECTED to hear more from me- especially since I teach people about the importance of sending out regular newsletters. I'm sorry!
Actually, truth be told, I'm not sorry. (Which is why I am posting this here and am not trying to keep this a secret.) You see, I also teach people to be strategic and intentional in all they do so that they can be successful. That is what I have been doing in the past year since I wrote a blog post and I honestly don't feel bad about it.
Yes- that's right, it's been a whole year since I've made a blog post! During that time so much has happened in my business and in my family. We only have so many hours in the day and I chose to spend them focused on the foundation of my business and my family. The results have been amazing.
Unfortunately, that meant I couldn't communicate with my followers or share tips and tricks to make your business and life better. However, it did mean that my clients were able to get my full attention. My clients (those who invested in themselves & their business by enrolling in my programs!) are both non-profits and entrepreneurs.....and they keep growing in numbers because of the care I give them! The most awesome part about that is that my clients businesses are shifting tremendously because of my intentional focus on their needs and the attention they received. (Check out the next blog post to learn more about my 2016 and what's to come in 2017.)
For those who need to get on with their day and don't have time to read on, I totally get it (and commend you too!). Please know that with my foundation now solid, both in my business and my family, this year is going to be even more amazing. For you, my loyal followers, that means consistent communication and TONS of great free resources coming your way.
For those I haven't seen in awhile, Drop me a line. I'd love to know what you've been up to!
Please tell me how you found me