This past weekend, I was a guest panelist during Monica Shah’s 3-day “Master Your Money” conference in Atlanta. As our time slot approached, I found myself nervous and apprehensive (always happens when doing something new in front of a couple-hundred strangers). Yet I knew once I stepped up onto the stage, my “Professional Cathy” brain would kick in and all would be well.
When preparing for speaking events, I use the acronym, “S.T.A.G.E.” to calm my nervous jitters:
- S = SLOW DOWN. Remember to breathe.
- T = TRUST THE PROCESS. You’ve done this before, you can do it again.
- A = ACT AS IF. You were invited to participate because someone knew you would make a positive contribution. Just go do it.
- G = GET GOING. One foot in front of the other — “. . . and soon you’ll be dancin’ out the door”. (I sometimes use this one at the dentist, as well.)
- E = EXPECT THE BEST. You can do this.
Working with a business coach has allowed us to set-the-stage for building a better business.
As a member of the “Money Club Success Panel”, I was invited to share three things:
- Where was our business BEFORE we began working with Monica?
- How has our business changed over the past year?
- What encouragement can we offer to other small business owners?
Before we began working with Monica, we were riding the “Hope and Pray” roller-coaster with varying income extremes for WA-A-AY too many years. Deciding to work with Monica as our business coach gave us a PLAN, a PURPOSE and a way to project a PROFIT.
Within 9 months of consistently following her guidance, our confidence grew exponentially along-side our client list, and in 4 out of the last 5 months, we have doubled our income over last year’s numbers.
Whether working with a business coach, or following a different path, once you make a commitment to grow your business . . . just stay focused and do the work . . . you WILL see results.
Be willing to take the next-best-step for YOU.
How are YOU setting the stage for your business to succeed?
I’m convinced that children are here to help us remember the “important stuff”.
We had a lovely gathering at our home yesterday, celebrating the rebirth of Spring. The Easter Bunny left a few awesome treats for the grand-bubs, and four generations gathered for the “feast”.
In addition to the many main dishes, it became apparent that desserts were a big feature, as with only 6 adults and two toddlers, we ended up with four homemade desserts – apple pie, banana pudding, banana split pie, and the “BIG Donut”.
Mr. N, the youngest (soon to be three years old), squealed with glee when Poppi (aka: Jack) placed a homemade Chocolate with Red Wine Bundt Cake on the table, shouting “BIG Donut!” as he wiggled with anticipation.
You see, donuts have become a bonding experience for the two little guys. Poppi is known for picking the boys up on a slow work-day morning, and making an impromptu “donut run”, followed by a stop at a local playground to run off the sugar before taking them back home.
Donuts have a much bigger meaning than simply sugar and flour. Donuts represent “bonding time”. . . a time where no electronic devices reign supreme over sitting across a table from your Poppi and sharing donuts and milk . . . and discussing how great it would be to have a donut as big as the one on the poster at the donut shop.
Mr. N was not even concerned about having to share this BIG Donut . . . there was certainly enough to go around. His full-belly sigh, coupled with a slight eye-roll as he leaned back in his chair, told us all he had reached his Donut Nirvana.
It’s great to be (almost) three and realize somebody “gets” you.
It’s great to be (twenty-times) three and realize somebody “gets” you.
- The HOOP represents the foundation of WHO you are, your essence, your unique sense of self. Who are you? What is your history? What gives you credibility and “expert” status? It does not necessarily need to be the extra alphabet letters after your name – more-often-than-not, it also includes your life experiences which have allowed you to develop into who you are now. Having a well-defined Author Platform creates a strong foundation for building your tribe of followers.
- The WEB represents WHAT you stand for, and HOW your unique offering serves others. What is your mission, your passion – both personally and professionally? Quite often, it’s our life “mess” which becomes our message. How can you take that message and share it with the world? How can you share your life lessons to help others? Weaving a well-crafted, consistent visual, verbal and virtual message attracts people who are eager to work with you, and will more than likely be the ones who buy your book.
- The EMBELLISHMENTS (feathers, beads, arrowheads) represent HOW you serve others. These are your gifts to your tribe, your followers. Interacting with your tribe strengthens your platform and helps to build a stronger relationship:
- Social media – be visible where they hang out.
- Workshops, webinars – create programs to share your knowledge and experience.
- Blogs, guest-blogging – reach a larger audience.
- Events – attend, become involved, extend your network, plan your own.
- Partnerships – create online and in-person events to increase visibility.
EXTERIOR GARDENING. My maternal grandmother taught me the annual Spring ritual of digging in the dirt (AKA: gardening). There’s something about cleaning out all the dead residual from last year, clearing space for the new buds to pop through the soil, and making room for the new flowers to join the bulbs.
INTERIOR GARDENING. We’ve also been doing the same at work . . . rearranging furniture and eliminating unnecessary items to create better “flow” for how WE move within the space, as well as how the WORK flows within the space. We’ve cleaned out files and cabinets, moved unused furniture to the basement, and donated five-plus boxes of books . . . allowing us to maximize the space and make room for all the new client work coming our way.
I even find myself consciously keeping my desk more clutter-free and organized. It never fails, whenever business starts to slow down, I pause, take a look at my desk, and start cleaning and organizing . . . and sure enough . . . we get busy again. Now, that’s not the ONLY reason, but it sure doesn’t hurt, and I always feel more “open and in control” with an organized desk.
So, this Spring finds me “setting the stage”, both in my yard and in my office, for great things to continue bursting forth.
What great expectations are you setting forth this Spring?
Many of you are familiar with our “shop”, UpsiDaisy.com, where you’ll find designs meant to motivate and inspire, as well as designs meant purely to add a smile to your day.
On a recent Monday morning, I opened my email to see an urgent message from a woman in Indiana, who wanted to use one of our UpsiDaisy.com designs for a convention her company was planning in Paris. Their theme was “Agent of Change”.
“OK. I think we can do that.”
The trick was . . . she needed dozens of shirts, imprinted with our design, her logo and a “combo” flag of France, Mexico and the US. By Friday, March 31, 2017.
“OK. I think we can do that.” (Hoping we really could make it happen.)
Who doesn’t like a fire-drill every now-and-then?!
SO . . . within 24 hours, Jack redrew the custom flag, AND we found a vendor (in her small Indiana town, no less) who could produce the shirts in time, IF we could send the art by 5pm on Tuesday.
“OK. I think we can do that.”
AND WE DIT IT! And we can work that fast for you, too, when needed!
My weekly blog post is due. I need an idea . . . an inspiration of some sort. I’ve hit a metaphorical roadblock.
Sometimes I just need some inner guidance – some INNER-G.
When you work for yourself and you love what you do, your business “day” can easily turn into nights and weekends as well. The longer I do this (this entrepreneurial “thing” – now in my 13th year), the more I have learned to STOP and take breaks.
Perhaps it’s a walk, a sit on our covered front porch or the back deck, a short nap, or a ride in the car – with the windows down, if possible – especially if I need to blow out the cobwebs in my brain.
For me, it’s all about having a process where I have learned to LET GO of any expectations I have around the perceived roadblock. It could be anything from dealing with a whiny client (NOT you) to needing a new idea, to how to pay that bill which just landed on my desk.
I’ve learned to recognize the “roadblock” feeling – a dull heavy sensation in the middle of my chest – almost like an invisible set of hands pushing me forward AND back at the same time. If I actually listen to the “nudge”, and let myself “break away”, it more-often-than-not leads me back to my INNER-G . . . my “flow”.
I REALLY, REALLY like it when I’m in the “flow”. Ideas come faster than I can sometimes type (or write). Words which I’ve been searching for all day (or all week) begin to pop in my head and I’m better able to serve our clients and help them grow their businesses.
Giving myself permission to take a break and regain a connection to my INNER-G (my inner guidance) has been pivotal in being able to grow OUR business.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help YOU find your own INNER-G so you can Look Good, Attract More Clients and Monetize Your Passion . . . give me call.
PS: Our new website just went live last week . . . take a quick peek and let me know what you think!
My family roots are strong throughout Oklahoma and Kansas – especially in the small oil town of Ponca City, Oklahoma – more recently made famous by the Food Network Chef, Ree Drummond and her TV show, “Pioneer Woman”.
As a child, I remember going to family reunions in the city park which has a statue of a woman and her young child, appropriately called “The Pioneer Woman”. The Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City is “dedicated to preserving women’s history and showcasing the historical and continued influence of women on the development of Oklahoma and the United States. The pioneer spirit embodied by the phrase “I See No Boundaries” is prominent throughout the museum. The museum’s exhibits showcase Oklahoma women who were pioneers in their respective fields, both on a state and national level.”
I grew up along-side strong women including my grandmother (one of 13 children), her many sisters, my mother and my sister. Although there were also men in the family – they were always either working the ranch or serving overseas in the military – it was the women I remember most who were creating a constant flurry of activity. The women ALWAYS worked hard. One owned a restaurant, one owned a hair salon – others ran the ranches and farms which kept us all fed, clothed and nurtured.
I recently ran across my grandmother’s Cherokee Nation card from the state of Oklahoma, declaring her one-eighth Cherokee blood line. I recall her lamenting that “when the government bought the land from the Cherokees, all the money went to those having at least one-quarter Cherokee blood – all I got was a bag of flour and a big box of raisins!”
Looking back, I see now where I get MY perseverance and drive. My elder female role models walked the Trail of Tears, lived through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. More often-than-not, they raised their families without a male partner around to help. They just did what needed to be done and occasionally sipped a bit from the still out back.
If you are ever in the mood for a road trip, take a drive to Ponca City, OK – originally part of the old Route 66. Stop by the Pioneer Woman Museum – although my relatives may not be pictured there, they will be there in spirit . . . the pioneer spirit.
Many of you have heard stories about me growing up in Oklahoma. And yes, “Yep”, “Howdy” and “Ya’ll” were spoken daily – even by the ladies.
More importantly, the ladies in my family – especially my mother and her mother (Nana) – mirrored the fashion trends of the time and I was taught, “a true lady only goes out in public in her best dress”. In the 1960’s that meant a shirt-waisted dress with flair skirt, pearls, white wrist-gloves, and a hat with matching shoes and purse. My older sister, in her teens, got to wear “nylons”, while my approved fashion uniform was accessorized with baggy white anklets. (Note: probably explains why I now hate baggy socks.)
Although my fashion preferences have relaxed dramatically (I grew up, went to college and learned the value of comfort), the lesson of being “best dressed” in public has stayed with me throughout my career and re-manifested itself into creating “best brands” for our clients to share in public.
So, what does it mean to have a “best dressed” brand?
- Express a comprehensive understanding of your audience. My Nana would always say, “A lady should be dressed to meet the ONE person she has always wanted to meet.”
- Select a well-thought-out color palette (not just your favorite colors). My Nana would also tell me to not be “too flashy”, but add a pop of color. My mother, on the other hand, was queen of bright colors and busy patterns. I learned to balance the two, depending on where we were going.
- Be prepared with a professionally designed vector logo – suitable for web AND print (you never know when you might need a banner or a t-shirt imprinted). My sister taught me to “always be prepared” (or was that the Girl Scouts?!). Take a sweater, or maybe a pair of flat-heeled shoes – just in case.
- Illuminate your value with a well-crafted written message, and address the needs of your audience. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my own definitive wardrobe “look” developed and evolved as I grew older. Our world became more relaxed the older I got, and so did my wardrobe (and so should your message).
- Share your message across all marketing platforms, creating a cohesive, memorable impression. Never one to buy into “trends”, my preference evolved into, classic, simple lines – with a pop of color. Our newly-updated brand does just that. So could yours.
Presenting YOUR brand in it’s “best dressed” form . . .
Whether you were born into the “proper” ways of the South, the more relaxed trends of the West Coast, or the familiar traditions of the Northeast, evolving into your own brand style is important for expressing your message and attracting your perfect audience.
Developing your own unique style is just that – YOUR UNIQUE STYLE. It’s not about copying the colors, fonts or messaging the “other guy” is using, but an opportunity to fully express your unparalleled value at it’s best.
It’s time to get dressed up.
LET’S TALK. One-on-one, about updating YOUR brand.
Give me a call (314-374-7481) or link directly to my calendar to schedule a time to talk.
D: So lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.
into a “gotta have” brand?
Today I was asked if someone could “rent” my brain for an hour to learn more about the current self-publishing industry.
Most certainly! You betcha.
In today’s world of constantly-changing technology, it is hard to keep up with what works and doesn’t work. Confusion reigns supreme, so as a last resort, a lot of people select the “quicker, faster, cheaper” route — and even more people are willing to BE the “quickest, fastest, cheapest” provider, just to get your hard-earned dollars. No wonder everyone is confused.
“Quick, fast and cheap” is not always the best choice. Just in the last month alone, we have . . .
- redrawn a logo someone purchased from an online freelancer site (rhymes with yellow) so it could now be used on a banner
- talked at least two authors through the disappointment of realizing when someone says they want to “publish” your book, it may not be a “real” publisher
- walked a client through the negotiation of the release of her logo “source files” which were being held hostage . . . which she paid for in-full, months ago
- finally convinced an author it not only was in his best interest, but would actually be cheaper, to have his book read by a professional editor, versus their neighbor’s aunt who, I’m sure, happens to be a wonderful English teacher
People. Stop it. If you want it done right, stop cutting corners. Budgets are a great tool, but fly out the window when you have to hire a professional to re-do what you have already paid for once.
Slow down. Ask questions. If you do not know what questions to ask, look it up on Google or CALL ME. We not only help you Look Good and Get Noticed . . . we can help you stay on budget and do it right . . . the first time.