It seems everywhere you go these days, you can hear talk about the "word of the year". Many people take time to choose a word of the year as a way to stay focused on their intention. For me, the process of choosing my word was pretty cool.
I had a bunch of things on my mind (shocking!) and any of them could have been "THE one". Before choosing rashly, like I did last year, I took time to just 'be' with all of them. Then, during the last week of December, I attended an Intention Party led by Felicty Joy of Savvy Services. This is the third year that Felicity has walked people through choosing their word of the year. Having attended the first two, I couldn't wait for the process to unfold.
After a series of journaling, celebrating and meditating, I was jazzed for the new year, but still left with all my words. Which one was it going to be? I couldn't choose just one, could I? As I wrote each of the words down on a sheet of paper, I tried to find the overlap. The words that were calling to me can all be seen in my photo above. They are each in a different color. I was so excited when I noticed that they did overlap! Each of the words relates to the development of my foundation. What's even cooler was that I could put them into a sentence and have an intention that reminds me of where to focus my time and energy this year.
Faith, Me Time and Family are my foundation. I've realized that the more I focus on those three things, the better I am for my clients and the better my business is. Do you have a word of the year? What is it and how did you come about choosing it?
TIME WITH FAMILY......By this time, I hope you're starting to wind down your business mind and rev up the family time. The magic of the holidays only comes once each year. The next time it arrives, the children will be older and there's, unfortunately, the chance that love ones may have passed. If you're one of those, like myself, that is fortunate to still have your loved ones around, spend time with them NOW while you can.
There are so many ways you can give the gift of time to family this holiday season. Here are a few ideas that come to mind:
So there you have it, the last in the no cost, high impact gift series. I'm sure there are tons more ideas I could list, but I stopped there so that I could go spend time with my family. Please share your ideas of things I may have missed in the comments below.
TIME.....Another gift you can give is the gift of time. How often do you go to an event at the holidays and you are asked to bring a gift for a gift exchange. Why not print up a certificate for one of your services and pair it with something related. One thing I just did was purchase a decorative heart and taped a certificate to the back for my upcoming February workshop "Put Your Heart in Sales". The best thing about this gift of time is that I am already doing the workshop and the gift doesn't require personalized one on one time. Another cool part of the gift is that it's often received by a potential client who now gets to 'taste test' my services.
To give the gift of time to current clients, you can give them a certificate for a bonus session to use at some point during the year. You can also create a new experience to do with all of them at once. The benefit of the new experience done with all of them at once is that it allow you to use less of your time. The con to the bonus session is that if you have a lot of clients, you now will be adding a lot to your workload. When you add up the extra hours and the revenue you aren't able to bring in because you are doing the bonus sessions, you may find that this gift of time is actually costing you money and that you may have been better off simply buying a gift.
Another way you can give the gift of time is to simply help a business associate in need. Are they perhaps struggling to get a handle on their social media and you are really good at it? Why not meet them for coffee and help them with their social media? They would probably enjoy that more than something little you spent money on. One day over the summer I had two dear friends come over and help me clean through all the papers that had built up in my room. My friends had heard me saying repeatedly that it was hard for me to relax because this area was so cluttered (and they knew how important it was for me to relax!), so they came to be my support and extra hands. When they left I worked for another few hours alone and got tons more done. The feeling I had when they left was better than any gift they could have purchased.
So, there you have it. One more gift to gift to business associates that requires no cash and provides a high impact. What have you been doing for no cost, high impact gifts? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear!
Looking for other ways to be strategic in your business? Be sure to check out the Marketing Morsels Monthly Workshops. Come together each month with like-minded business owners and take teim to focus on your business. In January we'll be Kickstarting the New Year and in February we'll be Putting Your Heart in Sales. Marketing Morsels Coaching Club Members receive a $30 discount on workshops.
How many business associates on your list have you been very impressed with. If you're like me (and most people!), you've thought about giving them a testimonial but haven't gotten around to it. Well, now is the perfect time. Take a look at the business associates on your list and see who you can write a testimonial for. Felicity Joy is someone I came across on my list. Here's what I did for here recently:
EVEN COACHES NEED COACHES! I'm blessed to have secured the support of many coaches in my life and Felicity Joy is one of them. Nearly two years ago Felicity and I began working together. During our weekly calls, she provides an objective, outside perspective to that voice in my head I hear all the time (you know, the voice that is critical of all I do even thought the outside world is not.!) I get off the phone and have a fresh perspective on the many things I'm juggling.
The past two years, I've attended her Intention Party and had a blast. It's a great way to end the year and begin preparing for the new. I'm looking forward to this year's party and would love to have you join me. You can learn more and register here.
Once you have your testimonials written, maximize the time you've spent by doing the following:
So, there you go. Another gift that costs no money and gives immensely to your business associates while also helping your business. A definite win-win!
Looking for other ways to be strategic in your business? Be sure to check out the Marketing Morsels Coaching Club. This online coaching program includes the book Be Strategic, Be Intentional, Be Successful, monthly Group Q&A Calls, a support forum and weekly training and motivational emails that help you take your learning in the book to a deeper level.
If you're like me, you realize that the best gifts don't always cost the most money. You also don't have a lot of time (or money) to go around. So this December, I'm focusing my blog on sharing ways you can create a big impact for everyone on your list without spending tons of money. In Part 1-3 of our series, I'll focus on your business associates. Then in Part 4, I'll focus on your family and friends.
If you have a large budget and are looking to provide something meaningful and unique for your business associates, you should contact my friend Laura DeRousse of TB Corporate Gifts & Events. Laura does an amazing job helping people find that special gift for their clients and can work within your budget to find that perfect item.
If you're budget is like mine this holiday season and you're looking for a no cost gift idea for your business associates, why not provide them with a referral? Didn't expect me to say that, did you? Think about it. How many business associates on your list do you think do amazing things? Why not tell others about them? I've shared one example of a way to give a referral above when I told you about my friend Laura's company.
Take a look at people on your list and think about who you could refer them to. There is a variety of ways you can do the actual referral including:
Looking for other ways to be strategic in your business? Be sure to check out my book Be Strategic, Be Intentional, Be Successful. For a limited time it's only $20 and includes a Group Q&A Call where you can get your questions answered and learn from the questions of others.
You know the story of the shoemaker's children, right? They didn't have any shoes because the shoemaker was too busy making shoes for all his customers. So often I hear my clients, as well as myself and fellow business owners, talk about how they feel like the shoemaker.
When you look at all we have to do to run a business and to take care of things on the home front, it's no wonder there isn't time left to make our own shoes. When I worked for companies throughout my career, I was always working, working, working so that I could help families in the commmunity and could help my staff enjoy their families. Since budgets were often limited, I was doing the job of many and had too many balls for one person to juggle. Being a super woman, I wore my badge with honor and kept moving forward without ever noticing that I barely spent time with my own family. When I started my own business, I chose to run things differently. I see the value of hiring people to do things I shouldn't be spending time on because it allows me to work less hours and spend time with my family. Despite that, this shoemaker's child/business still has no shoes.
So, what do I mean by that? I mean that I teach businesses how to focus on the relationships in their business, but I have had so much to do that I haven't been able to practice what I preach. I help peoplecreate a plan for their business in just 3 days but I haven't taken the 3 days needed to update my plan for the year. Why is that? Well, because there are only so many hours in the day. I prioritize and the first place I spend my time and energy is on serving the clients who have invested in my services. I then spend time getting to know potential new clients and make my shoes only when all that is done. This is universally the same story I hear from my clients and others. Each story is filled with guilt because the person feels disingenuous with what they teach and they aren't being a good role model for their clients.
Take a minute to think about your favorite massage therapist. Can that person give him/her self a massage? Of course not. So why do we expect ourselves to be able to do everything, including that thing we do to help others? The fact of the matter is that the shoemaker's kids could have had shoes if he was willing to ask another shoemaker to help him. Creating that 3-day plan may not be the best use of my time and resources, especially if I can have another expert do it for me. Likewise, focusing on relationships would be much easier if I had my assistant help me instead of trying to do it all myself.
I wish I would've known what I do now all those years I was working for other companies. How nice it would have been to take a step back and look for the ways I could empower others to take some of the balls I was juggling so that I could spend more time with my family. I'm so blessed, though, that I realize it now and that I've been able to change the way I run my business and interact with my family. It's also nice to be able to use my pain to help others live a more balanced and fulfilled life.
I was recently the speaker at my WOAMTEC meeting, Throughout the presentation I shared a lot of the trials and tribulations I've had running a business. I was approached after and given some very heartfelt, genuine compliments. One person shared how they appreciated my always being vulnerable enough to talk about my weaknesses. They said it helps them see that everyone is human and that although it may look easy from the outside, there are often struggles on the inside. Interestingly enough, I learned that lesson almost two years ago when I was doing a presentation at my WESOS meeting. Everything that could go wrong in the hours prior did, and one of the ladies (Evie Burke) suggested I embrace imperfect action. She shared that people appreciate it when we show them we aren't perfect. That advice was career changing......especially since I was a HUGE perfectionist at the time....and two years later, it's now just naturally who I am to let people see that I'm far from perfect.
I'm glad I'm no longer wearing the super woman badge or the badge of perfection anymore as both were too heavy to continue to wear. I'm also glad that I'm making changes that help me feel like a good role model for my clients and like I'm living in alignment with what I teach. I encourage others to do the same because the longer we go on living the life of the shoemaker, the more likely it is that we will lose credibility and the faith of our clients.
Do you feel like a shoemaker? If so, share in the comments below and tell us what you are going to do to shift your perspective and to embrace your limitations so that you can start being that role model you know others look for you to be and live in alignment with what you teach.
So I was at my WOAMTEC meeting today and was excited to hear my friend and fellow WOAMTEC member, Bob Briskey speak to the group. Bob is a very talented photographer and is the one who took the photo you see above. I thought he was going to share some photography tips with us and was quite surprised (and blessed) that he didn't. The focus of Bob's talk was being tenatious in your business and a large underlying theme was manifesting the things you want in your life and your business.
Bob cited some greats in the sport and film world who were intentional about manifesting their futures and as a result saw great success. Although the stories were impressive, they wern't as impressive as the stories about the things he's manifested in his business and in his life. The best things he manifested in his life was his children. I've heard Bob talk about how amazing his children are before but never in as much depth as he shared today. He also shared about how his nieces and nephews also have been successful due to their manifesting and following their dreams. My children and my nieces and nephews all are such an important part of my life. I can definitely say that I'm a positive influence in all of their lives but after listening to Bob today I'm proud to say that the best is yet to come.
Bob's talk was preceded by the WOAMTEC Chapter's Executive Director, Christina Fryzel, sharing the emotions surrounding her this week as her oldest was preparing to graduate 8th grade. She shared what an amazing young man he's becoming and some of the things she's done to shape and mold him. Like Bob, I've always had great admiration for the mother that Christina is. Christina's intro was followed by many of the members and guests sharing similar stories about their children. The whole conversation was a great lead-in to Bob's talk. The topic hit home with such a large part of the group that many of us stayed an extra hour to talk about the topic further.
Today's topic was divine intervention for me. I've had manifesting on my mind for a few weeks now because
I have some big things to manifest (see the picture above). I've also been getting down on myself and my business despite the great things that are happening. (This can be so easy to fall into when you have a month where your timing doesn't align with those who are interested in your programs.) Earlier this week I came up with the concept of a "Manifestation Garden" for my clients. I created sketches for them to put the things they are manifesting on and tried finalizing it but it just wasn't jelling.
I went to bed tonight and a migraine came on prior to laying down. I felt the hot flashes coming, I felt nautious and there was a dull pain in my head. I was in and out of sleep and continued to pray to God to turn my thoughts around. I knew even more now than I did before attending my WOAMTEC meeting today that I could no longer be down about a business that is going so well because doing so would cause the bad things I was trying to avoid. After a bit more time of tossing and turning and going in and out of sleep, I got up and was ready to take action. The migraine had gone and I was ready to visually manifest what had been in my head for a few weeks now.
To do so, though, I had to first figure out what it was I wanted to manifest. I knew that to meet the expenses of the business and my family I had to bring in $6,000/month. I also knew that by year's end I've set the intention to be bring in $100,000 or more. With 7 months left, manifesting $6,000/month wasn't going to get me there. $13,000 does, though.
I then thought about the number and tried to envision how that would break down into clients.
Was it realistic? After imagining a few ways $13,000/month could come in from 2 or 3 clients I felt good about moving onto the next step. How was I going to make my garden. Although flowers seemed obvious, I went with hearts because I'm not in the business of selling, I'm in the business of serving. Each of the dollars I've chosen to manifest comes in exchange for providing serving others and supporting them as they too serve their clients. This is an amazing gift and filled with much love on so many levels.
After creating my garden, I held each of the hearts in my hand, one at a time, and connected with the positive energy of serving others. I also prayed to God each time, thanking Him for the opportunity to serve others and asking for Him to bring the right people into my path and to continue to work on me so I can be at my best to do His work for His people (so that they can then be the best for their people.)
With my garden fully assembled, I stood before it in admiration, feeling the energy that it was providing. I next turned on some peaceful music and did an art of femine presence meditation as I soaked it all in. The inspiration was so wonderful and started me thinking of various ways I could create the $13,000/month I'm manifesting. After jotting down the many ideas, I went immediately to the computer to share with all of you about the great day I had.
Today was definitely not the first time I've heard about manifesting or been shown examples of success due to those who manifest. Those earlier experiences all had the topic close at heart for me .
WOAMTEC is one of the groups I love and look forward to attending. The members are like family and not only care about each other and their families, they also care about helping and supporting each other in their businesses. It's also a national group, which is great for businesses like mine who work across the country. WOAMTEC also provides a lot of great benefits for it's members too. If you've been looking for a new group and want to check it out, I encourage you to join me as my guest. You can learn more about the group and register here.
It's been one crazy busy week! I spent most of last week in Asheville, NC with some AMAZING people at Christine Kane's Uplevel You Gold Mastermind Retreat. If you look closely, you may see some ladies you know. I'm sort of hidden in the middle, left. I wonder if you can find me.
This was the last of three retreats in a year-long program I invested in last year. As some have heard before, making the decision to invest $10K in a program with people I didn't know much about was a HUGE step for me....especially since I surely didn't have $10K to invest. I remember pondering the decison and realizing that on my own I could do good things, but to excel to where I knew I really could go, I needed to invest in myself and let others help me. I had NO CLUE where the money was going to come from, but I took the leap anyway and couldn't be happier that I did.
Fastforward nine months and boy is my world different. The impact the investment has had on my clients, myself and my family is more than I'd ever dreamed. I led companies for most of my career and coach others through running theirs. However, it's much different when it's your own company because there is so much on the line and there are so many details to take care of. When I worked for others I had this bigger than anything vision. I wanted to help everyone and do big grand things. I didn't realize until just this past week that for me, helping just one client get laser focused to be the best they can be is a much grander thing to me than trying to help hundreds I don't know on that deeper level. I used to think I wanted to lead large programs like Christine Kane does and have this grand prescence. What I realize now, though, is that having a grand presence in the minds of a few of my awesome clients is really all I need....and want. That HUGE impact with fewer people gives me more time to enjoy my family, enjoy myself and come to center more often so I can be the best me for my clients, my husband and my kids.
The most amazing part of this program is not the 'tools' and training they provide in relation to working our business, it's the awareness and mindset issues they help us work through. Without first getting past the "stuff", we can't fully be who we are meant to be for our clients and our families. As I reflect back on my twenty year career working for others, I am able to see first-hand that I wasn't fully who I was meant to be, mainly because the companies I worked for weren't focused on having me figure out "the stuff". Now that I own my own business, it's awesome to have been able to invest in myself, work through my 'stuff' and see succeess for myself and my clients because of it!
So, who am I meant to be and how do I want to be? I want to be calm, peaceful, engaging, impactful, inspiring, compassionate, nurturing and present for my family. I can be all these things by being my true self and giving the best of myself to those few indivuals out there that are ready and willing to take a leap of faith like I did and invest in themselves so they can see the success they dream for in their business as I support them on their journey.
If you're that person who is ready for success and willing to invest in themselves, then now is the time to reach out to me and get on a Business Clarity Call. There are exciting things happening at Z&B and now is the time to jump on board. The next Magnify Your Marketing, three week Marketing Planning Program is happening Monday, April 13, 20 and 27. This is the LAST TIME I will be offering this program locally in a large group setting at this low rate and the seats are filling quickly. All future programs will be offered in an intimate VIP Overnight Retreat setting.
Anyone who gets on a FREE Business Clarity Call by Wed, April 1st will receive an invitation to the Thurs. April 2nd Maximize Your Momentum Mastermind/Training. No April Fool's there...it's the real thing. I just opened up some more Business Clarity Call slots, so hop onto the website and get yourself scheduled (and tell a friend to get on too and join you!). If you don't find a spot that works for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make something work.
It's been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks for me. Throughout it all, I've found myself with an incredible amount of support thanks to the intentional work I've done this past year to focus on relationships and put the right people into my village. I'm grateful to God for these amazing individuals who often times, without even knowing, have made an impact on my life.
The whirlwind began, I think, when I started preparing my 2014 taxes (and included my cell phone cracking to the point of no return which forced the phone switch I had been delaying since October.). The tax prep process went on, and on, and on! Each step of the way I was reminded of the year that had just passed including both the successes and the failures. Like most, instead of focusing on the successes, my mind shifted to the shortcomings. As it did, I became angry with myself and held onto this anger for a couple of weeks. The voice in my head was saying things like "How could you go so long without tracking your mileage or your expenses?" "If you had done this all along, you would have time now to contact people about your programs." "Why did you add so many things to your plate?" "Why didn't you put things in files all year long?" "Why haven't you done all those trainings you paid so much money for?" "You had these same problems when you worked a full time job. Why haven't you learned?"
As time passed, the voice started talking more saying things like "Why are you still eating so much cr##?" "You look like you did after your oldest was born 13 years ago......before you had lost 60 pounds." "Why is your Christmas tree still up?" (Yes....3 wks after my last blog, it's still not put away! It was nice to hear my accountant today say that she was happy to see it up since hers was still sitting there waiting to be put away too. I was so glad I didn't rush to take it down yesterday out of fear for what she would think.)
Why does our mind do this to us? There are so many positive things my mind could've been thinking instead. Things like "You're business grew by leaps and bounds last year!" "You have a strong following that you didn't a year ago!" "You've planted lots of seeds this year and you will soon reap more than you've sown!"
The fact of the matter is that when a business grows as much as Z&B did last year, it's hard to keep up with all the administrative things that go along with it...and with the projects at home!. It's normal to have all the lose ends that are currently there (and if I didn't, I may not have served as many clients as I did last year.) I also sensed this growth at the end of 2014 and took steps to hire an accountant and admin assistant in Jan. The process I went through this year with the taxes was a great affirmation of the recent hires and sensing the need in 2014 should be celebrated!
It's easy to slip away from God during times like this. As I reflected recently, I realized that during this downward spiral I had stopped reading my bible at night and replaced it with watching episodes of The Closer on Hulu. (Oh, how I thought Hulu was great when we activated our year-long free subscription over XMAS break. Little did I know how it would suck me in and take my quite time away.)
So how does one turn this around? For me, I stopped to think about the various things I've learned from those amazing people I've surrounded myself with. The list is quite large and diverse (and unfortunately too much to list out of fear I'll miss someone.) Once I pulled myself out of self pity and was gentle with myself, treating myself as I would a friend, I was able to realize something quite important. The things I was upset with myself over are all part of my journey. Through my forgiving and letting go, I am able to move forward and rise above these challenges....then help my clients do the same. Rising above all of them is important because once I am faithful with what God has given me, I can then be faithful over much more. God HAS put me (and each of us) here to make a difference! Only by being humble and turning to Him for help can I do what He's put me here for.
Do you enjoy reading and learning from Michelle's experiences? If so, you may want to consider Z&B'sMaximize Your Marketing yearlong group coaching program. Included in the program is coaching via email or Facebook, monthly training/mastermind sessions and a community of like-minded people to support you as you get out of the way of yourself and grow your business. Participants also receive discounted rates on 1:1 coaching sessions, when needed.
Someone told me today that they've been thinking of me a lot the past couple of days. Their week has been exceptionally busy and it doesn't look like it will get much better before April. Amongst the busyness they began to wonder how I fit it all in.
The truth of the matter is that during my workaholic days, before starting my own business, I fit it all in by not taking care of myself. I'd work crazy long hours, not eat much and definitely didn't fit exercise in (despite the fact that there was an entire workout center right below my office!). I also ignored my kids and my husband on the days I brought the work home (which was often). There's only so long this can last before your body starts fighting back. I developed migraines and had no idea why. Years later as I look back, I wonder why I had no idea that this wasn't a way to live or work.
The me back then wanted to be perfect and wanted to fit it all in. I was so busy adding tons of things to my to-do list and striving to get it all checked off (while trying to make everyone happy) that I didn't have time to realize how, or why, changing this pattern was important.
Nearly four years later, I finally see how treating myself, my body and my family differently back then would have brought me different results. I've learned that during busy times the most important thing I can do is to take care of myself by exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep. More importantly, I've learned that some things will get done in their own due time and losing sleep to fit them in will only make things worse, not better. Lastly, I've learned that trying to hide these things to appear perfect isn't necessary because revealing them makes you seem more real.
My XMAS tree you see above is a perfect example of one of those things I've chosen to just let go lately. Yes, it's the end of the first week of February and my XMAS tree is still up. Yes, I'm sharing that in my blog for anyone on the worldwide web to see for eternity (or at least until I choose to delete the blog). As the last busy month has gone by and I've worked hard to put first things first, I've consciously chosen each day that taking down my holiday decorations wasn't something to put first.
I even had a meeting with people at my house the other day and didn't care that they were seeing my decorations. Oddly enough, one of the people at the meeting also asked me how I fit in all in. I proceeded to not only let her see my tree on the main floor but to tour her around my house. Along the tour she saw rooms that were a disaster, others that were clean and still others that were in between. I shared with her that one of the ways I fit it all in is to be alright with a not so perfect house- especially when it means I have time to rest and refresh and to spend time with my family.
The other day, I saw the picture on the right posted on Facebook by my friend Desiree. In the post, she shared that her mother gave her this for Christmas. She added that the messiest room in her house is where the magic happens. As I look around at the dining room table full of papers from a busy week, I feel blessed by all the magic that has happened this week in my business and life!
Please tell me how you found me