Read this before you design your website

Read this before you design your website

Spend your money wisely when building your website

Building a website seems like a really important thing to do to grow your business . . . and boy, do I hear the stories of buyer’s remorse and other frustration from colleagues, clients, and prospects who spend gobs of money on their websites (oftentimes, their entire marketing budget), only to realize later that their websites just sit there, don’t really get them business, aren’t flexible to keep up with the ever-changing web and social media landscape, are expensive to maintain, don’t attract new leads or sales, etc.

Your Website’s Most Important Feature:  Quality Content

The real bummer comes when people realize the most expensive part of building a website, if it’s done right, isn’t the cool design (though good design is important)–it’s creating great content that’s optimized well and structured to compel visitors to take some sort of action. Before you hire your next web developer or commission the design of your next website, consider what you want your website to “do” for your business.

Here are a few ideas about what your website should do for your business:

  • Generate new leads
  • Nurture your relationship with fans/prospects
  • Support offline efforts (like booking speaking engagements, supporting PR efforts, etc)
  • Sell products
  • Support strategic alliances and affiliates

Make sure your website educates, informs, and is helpful to your visitors

Often, your website is targeting many different “buyers” at once: meeting planners, program chairs, media editors, strategic partners, and prospects for your offerings. Consider the needs and expectations of each of these buyers to ensure you’re making it easy for them to find the exact information they’re seeking with as few clicks as possible. Understand the buying process of your intended audience. People seek “help” with their problems when they hit key “thresholds” personally or professionally. It’s important that you know what those thresholds are, what kind of “help” they are looking for (do they want tips, to buy a book, to hire a consultant/coach, to buy into a program or seminar, etc), and what kind of trust you’ll need to inspire for them to choose you over other options in the marketplace.

This is a great opportunity to talk about your social media and blogging plan. In the How Should I Market Myself? program, these strategies fall under “Grassroots Marketing,” the foundational strategy in the marketing triad. It’s really important that your website serves as a platform that integrates your showcasing and networking efforts, giving visitors who are wanting to learn about your expertise and to educate themselves the opportunity to connect with all your social touch points. Toni and I will be doing some podcasts on social media soon . . . this is Toni’s genius and I’m excited to share her in-the-trenches expertise with you!

Because the online landscape is changing so much, so fast, I highly recommend using WordPress to build your website. It’s very, very user-friendly and has a huge open-source community of programmers who create mostly-free plugins to integrate cutting-edge functionality to your site’s design. Pretty much every VA (virtual assistant) I’ve ever talked to is familiar with WP, so you can easily get support in the form of trained admins –at this stage of the game, you can’t go wrong with WordPress. I also recommend building your custom templates with a framework like Thesis or Genesis –they really optimize your sites well for search, all built-in (they also employ lots of best-practice programming).bu

How to add more revenue streams to your business – Part III

In my first two blogs in this series, we covered how your content is like rocket fuel for your business and what kind of content you can create to showcase your expertise. In this blog, we’ll look at ways for you to create your own breakthroughs and push through writers block to leverage your content to grow your business.

Prepare Yourself to Create Your Content

Creating content consistently is like training for a race – you’ve got to condition your muscles to endure.  You’re not going to leave the house and run a marathon the first time you go for a jog … in fact, if you try, you’re going to end up so discouraged and frustrated that you may not make out of the house again for the second jog. Finding and following a plan that will grow you toward the marathon (or book / training program / etc) is key — you’ve got to pace yourself so that each session feels manageable and builds on what you’ve created in the past, taking you closer to manifesting your “big goals.”

There is no “pat formula” for creating content … what works great for one prolific professional might not work for you.  Here are a few ideas to try on for size, though, to help you find a framework and strategy that may work for you.

  • Dedicate a significant block of time (2-4 hours) every 4-6 weeks to create a month or two of content rather than trying to fit in writing sessions once or twice a week to create next week’s content.  (This can be particularly helpful to people who have a really demanding coaching or travel schedule.)
  • Set aside the same block of time weekly to write and create, and safeguard that time as if you’re meeting the president.  Creating your content is not “secondary” to your “paid” work; it’s the most important work you will do on a weekly basis to develop a sustainable, financially-solid career.
  • Leverage or a similar tool to capture your ideas and thoughts as you speak them. Jott will actually transcribe your voice notes. There are also other similar tools out there. The transcribing is particularly helpful, as it gives you written content to work with/massage when it’s time to create your final deliverable.
  • If you’re experiencing challenges getting momentum, schedule time with a coach, ghost writer, or other professional to get the writing going. It’s like scheduling time with a personal trainer: committing to a pro both financially and with your valuable time can often create the leverage and discipline you need to break through.

If your schedule seems gridlocked and you need to find more time, check out this slideshare from my friends at — no matter how “busy” you are, you can free up time to focus on what’s important if you make the commitment:

Got Time?


As my friend Mark LeBlanc says, Done is better than perfect. I’ve got a client that says, Perfection is a ghost. Your goal in creating great content isn’t to compete with Michelangelo’s David – it’s to serve, educate and inform your ideal customers, ultimately building trust, growing your influence and inspiring people to take action–all of which will grow your bottom line.

For some good recommendations on improving as a writer, check out Scott Jeffrey’s post, On the Craft of Writing.

How to add more revenue streams to your business – Part II

In my last blog, we discussed the value of creating content as a powerful trust-builder for growing your platform.  There are several ways you can leverage your content to expand your influence:
Free Content

Leveraging your content into free resources is a great way to funnel traffic to your website, connect with the prospects on your mailing list, and showcase your expertise for decision-makers.  You can create:

  • Blog Posts
  • Video Blogs
  • Articles (for submission online, publication periodicals / magazines / journals, publishing on your website)
  • White Papers / Special Reports
  • Podcasts
  • Radio Show

Content for Sale

You can also package your content into products that people can buy, which is a great way to create passive income:

  • Books
  • Workbooks
  • Audio / Video Programs
  • Training Programs

Connecting with your Market: From the Stage to the Page

It can be mind-bending to transition from allowing your expertise to flow “naturally” in live situations (speeches, training sessions, coaching sessions, conversations) to intentionally outlining and packaging the content so your expertise can be useful without your “physical presence,” especially for professionals who are not used to organizing their thoughts into a linear format.  There are lots of ways you can tackle content creation:

  1. Interview others to tell their stories. Interview people who have experienced breakthroughs or significant achievements aligned with your platform / expertise to help the reader glean gems, truths, and/or lessons from their stories.  You can package these interviews as audio, Q&A, or articles with quotes from the person you’re interviewing.
  2. Be interviewed by reporters, strategic partners, or even your team members. Having others ask you intentional, poignant questions aligns you with the flow of your intuition “in the moment,” which is likely highly-developed and will elicit your expertise and its gems fairly easily.
  3. Develop an editorial calendar to guide you. Block off an afternoon to brainstorm and mindmap your ideas. Organizing a brain dump of topics or concepts can give you a format to follow so that when you sit down to write or create, you’re not having to “dig so deep.”  A good editor might be able to help you with this process.
  4. Keep a notebook close during calls, meetings, talks, etc so you can capture your best ideas. Oftentimes, your “brilliance” comes out in impromptu dialog with individuals or groups who are tapping you for support and advice.  By grabbing your thoughts (and the patterns/steps you outline for others) as they flow, you’ll make it a lot easier on yourself when it’s time to write or create your content.
  5. Honor and align with the ebb and flow of your own creativity. When the spirit moves you, WRITE or CREATE — set other things aside so you can capture inspiration as it comes to you in the moment, when it’s easy and almost effortless.

In my next post, we’ll talk about strategies for creating content to help you “get over the hump” so you can start creating.

How to add more revenue streams to your business – Part I

Create solid content around your expertiseMy complimentary strategy sessions with prospects often turn into a “confessional,” with professionals bemoaning how they know they need to be blogging, writing their book, creating articles, etc., but they aren’t, or can’t, or won’t, and they’ve got solid reasons why they haven’t been able to do these things yet:

  • Some of my clients just feel “overwhelmed” and “don’t know where to start.”
  • Others aren’t “writers” and feel intimidated to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
  • Some people are just damn busy, and carving out this time in their calendar feels like an impossibility.
  • Some of my most skilled coaches, in particular, come from such an intuitive place when working with clients that the notion of “planning” what they’re going to say about a subject in advance feels disingenuous and strange.

I get all the reasons. I’ve struggled with every single one of them. I’m not going to lecture you on why you need to be doing this, because you likely already know. If you don’t, boy howdy, you are late to the party and you need to put this smack dab in the middle of your radar. It’s crucial for independent professionals whose business are built on TRUST.

My friend and coach, Scott Jeffrey, insists (and he’s right) that once you start blogging or putting out consistent content, you can never stop. Somehow, you have to find the fortitude and the emotional leverage to COMMIT to being consistent.

Your Content is Part of Your Commitment to Your Clients

I know, I know, the “c” word: commitment. It’s a must, friends. The people you serve need your commitment, your consistency, your brilliance. We all have blocks, and they are TOUGH to conquer sometimes. But you can do this! And you MUST.

Packaging your expertise into useful content (for free or for sale) is the most powerful way to grow your platform. Packaging your expertise not only builds trust and shines a light on how you serve, the informed content you create also:

  • gives people something to share and talk about online,
  • showcases your expertise for influencers and purveyors of content who need MORE content to showcase,
  • and enhances your credibility in the marketplace.

Start thinking about your content, the stuff you’ve been meaning to write, but just haven’t gotten out there yet, and make a commitment to getting it done.

In my next blog, we’ll review the types of content you might want to develop to support your marketing efforts, and the strategies you can implement to actually CREATE the content to grow your business.

5 key lessons for hiring virtual team members (Part Two)

I have learned SO many lessons about working with a virtual team — and some of them came the hard way.  Here are the final two key lessons learned (you can catch the first three lessons for working with virtual assistants here):

Set up the right platforms to work well “in the cloud”

We use several tools to create our “virtual office.”  In the beginning, I would let our VAs use their preferred tools for time tracking and project management, but nixed this pretty early on.  As a business owner, you want things to be streamlined and systemized as much as possible to reduce your own learning curve, curb turbulence from changing to new systems frequently, make it easy to establish consistent office procedures for all resources, etc.  To manage your team and your business, you need tools for time tracking and reporting, invoicing and collecting payments, project management, email marketing, and database management.  Through some trial and error, we’ve found a suite of tools that work fantastically … one of the things I looked for when choosing our tools was API integration capabilities.

I want the tools we’re leveraging to integrate well with other tools we use.  I also learned a hard lesson and now skip the more obscure free tools.  We pay for a lot of our tools, and we use the “most popular”, industry tested tools in the marketplace:  Basecamp, Google Apps, Freshbooks, SalesForce, MailChimp, 1ShoppingCart, Hoot Suite.

Free often means bugs, free providers often don’t or can’t keep up with the rapidly-changing Web 2.0 landscape, and the “big guys” are typically more collaborative–including apps with functionality via API integration to help you  integrate different platforms.

Spend time learning to communicate effectively with virtual resources

I asked Doreen, the admin who’s worked with me and my clients for the longest (and she’s a rock star!), the most important condition she felt needed to be established between the VA and the client, and she listed several:

  • How do you like to communicate (email, phone calls)?
  • How often do you want to be updated on tasks?
  • How closely do you want to work together?
  • Do you expect phone calls and/or emails to be responded to at a certain frequency (daily, twice daily, etc)?
  • Are you comfortable setting deadlines for your VA?
  • How do you handle it when a project doesn’t “go right” — most often, communication issues are at the heart of the matter when things are bumpy or even disastrous.

In a conversation I had this week with Carlos, another of our team members, he mentioned that the quality that he found most valuable when joining our team was our transparency:  We do our best to show all our cards, warts and all – this is how we do things, this is what’s working well and not working well, I am flawed [in this way], I want to rely on you for XXXX, I should have handled this differently, etc.  I specifically recall him asking about payment after he joined our team, and my response to him was a detailed email that disclosed every step of our process, what he could expect, what to do if he had any problems.  This kind of communication instills certainty and confidence in the people who are collaborating with you, inspiring loyalty and ownership of the work you’re doing together.

Question:  What are some key strategies you’ve learned along the way to building a collaborative, powerful relationship with your VA?

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5 key lessons for hiring team members (Part One)

Working with a virtual assistantA few years ago, like many of you, I came to a crossroads in my business where I had to look at hiring an assistant, both to support and to work with my clients.

I have learned SO many lessons about working with a virtual team — and some of them came the hard way.  I could probably write on the experience of working with a virtual assistant for days, both the good at the bad, but I wanted to narrow it down to some key points:

To the best of your ability, know what you’re looking for before you hire a virtual assistant

If you aren’t clear on what responsibilities you want someone to handle for you, what skills you want them to have, and what outcomes you want them to support you in creating, you are likely to waste both time and money.  From my perspective, the whole point of hiring a team member is to rely on them for leverage. I look for a virtual team member who: can handle something that I can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t. A virtual assistant and I should achieve good results by partnering together, and I trade dollars for that.  It is incredibly frustrating for both parties to get into a project or job and to realize that you either aren’t a good fit for each other, or that, as a leader, you’ve not provided the kind of direction your assistant needs to do a good job for you.

Before I hire someone new, I spend some time mapping out the skill set we want this new team member to have. There have been times I’ve needed to hire someone and, frankly, I wasn’t sure what skills we should looking for.  I just knew what result we wanted to create.  In this situation, it is my responsibility to spend some due-diligence time learning what we’re looking for so we can make a good hire; and let me tell you, I don’t feel like I EVER have time to do this.  I’d rather stick needles under my fingernails than dig into another job description and grapple with minutiae that doesn’t inspire me. Suck it up, sister, I tell myself, and I dig in.

Here’s the truth: Wasted time and energy onboarding someone new are inevitable.  Learning to work well with someone takes time.  They’re going to make mistakes, execute things incongruent with your intentions, and generally botch things up.  Sometimes, it’s your fault.  Creating synergistic relationships takes time and intention.  What’s important is that you’re spending this time, money and energy on someone who has the chops to do the job well after a reasonable learning curve–so hire well.

If you’re not hiring a virtual assistant you know, make sure they are a member of a professional association

As much as I love our VA team, and I love the experience of working with others virtually, it’s not without its risks.  A BIG risk is that the person you hire could at some point act unethically because of sour grapes.  They might not deliver on promises made.  They could disappear into the ether.  They could attempt to sabotage you somehow in the marketplace.

If they are a member of a professional organization, you have the leverage of filing an ethics complaint for unethical behavior.  We have had a couple of instances where we’ve been able to ward of “bad behavior” by playing this card, and one instance where we’ve actually had to file an ethics complaint. If the VA isn’t a member of a professional association, there is basically no governing body to assist besides the good ol’ fashioned court system, which is often cumbersome and time-consuming.  Most VAs will care more about being reported to their professional association than having to fight you in court... nothing like a jury of their REAL peers.

Use a solid agreement that protects your interests

Having a strong, clear agreement in place is another way we’ve been able to shield ourselves from bad behavior.  A solid VA agreement will include these clauses (not necessarily an exhaustive list, but a good start):

Compensation. Include standard information like hourly pay rate, payment schedule, turnaround time, and communication protocol.  Also include some verbiage to indicate that incomplete projects cannot be billed unless the project was terminated by the client (you).  This will keep you from being financially liable for work that isn’t properly completed, particularly useful when a VA has a personal or business emergency that interferes with completing work for you, or when a VA frankly doesn’t know what they’re doing and/or just doesn’t deliver.  There have been times in my business where I’ve assigned work to someone that, for whatever reason, they haven’t delivered and I’ve been protected financially by this stipulation.

Confidentiality. A solid confidentiality agreement will give you protection should a working relationship go south.  In the performance of duties while working for you, information about you and your clients will be obtained.  Witha proper confidentiality clause, this information (including business practices, details of transactions, and other confidential information) cannot be disclosed, giving you recourse should they get to blabbering and slandering.

Arbitration. Make sure you include an arbitration addendum stipulating that unresolved differences will be handled via arbitration in your county/city.  If litigation ever comes up, your interest is for it to be convenient for you and a hassle for the other party.  I’ve not needed to litigate any business issues since this clause was added to my agreements (knock on wood) six years ago.  It’s a deterrent to legal wrangling; it would be a big hassle for someone in another state to have to come here to meet with an arbitrator — it’s been in both of our interests to just work things out without causing either of us excessive duress to bring resolution.

Up next: Part two on working with a virtual assistant

A ninja trick to help you LEAP to the next level

Finding Clarity when you're feeling blocked, uninspired, overwhelmed, stressedI recently had a conversation with a colleague who knew he needed to take things “to the next level.” He was feeling pressure financially (as we all do at times; I mean, doesn’t almost anything that ails us almost always have some kind of financial impact?) to “make things happen,” yet he felt stuck.

This is a frustrating part of being an independent professional, for sure.  We get busy “doing” things, taking care of clients, and when we start to feel the pressures of responsibility to get our businesses to a certain level, in the midst of our struggle, we feel SO uninspired.  Sometimes, we get to the point where we even feel bored with what we find ourselves doing every day with our clients … not a powerful space to be in if we want to attract more business, right?

Don’t let fear interfere with your life

I live my life by this motto: Any decision made out of fear is the wrong decision. If I’m contemplating a strategic move of any kind, personal or professional, before I’ll commit to anything, I need to know that I’m not going to make this decision because I’m afraid of something:  failure, success, the opinions of others, losing respect or admiration, avoidance of conflict, not having enough money – notoriety – etc.

The Indian sage Nisargadatta Maharaj affirms, “To see clearly, the mind must be pure and unattached.”

Finding that pure, unadulterated space when we’re feeling pressure or emotionally taxed can really be tough.  Still, it’s absolutely crucial that we develop that “muscle” in our minds, because to grow a business, we often need the strength to move stress and clutter aside so we can captain our journeys and tap into our own creativity.

The right questions can pull you out of the doldrums

When a colleague contacted me recently because he felt like he should start marketing his business, his tone sounded flat and uninspired.  It’s a whole other blog post to talk about why it’s nearly impossible to market successfully from an uninspired place.  I told him, “Good marketing comes from a powerful, motivating vision.  So, where do you want to go with your business?  What excites you?  Where are you being divinely guided to make a difference in the world?”

It seemed my question took him off guard; I think he expected me to launch into a bunch of marketing jargon that promised moonbeams, unicorns and pots of gold within 90 days.  We spent the next hour talking about what he was passionate about, uncovering the things that inspired him to become a coach in the first place.  He reconnected with what he loved, and from that passionate place, we began mapping out what growing his business might look like.

Understanding how the creative process works and learning to align with it is crucial to your success as an independent professional.  Pick up a copy of Scott Jeffrey’s book, Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration if you’re ready for a deep dive.

The truth about internet marketing – and how to make it work for you

Internet Marketing alone won't fill your piggy bank. While listening to the chatter about how independent professionals like us grow our businesses, I always hear lots of talk about “internet marketing.”  I’ve even heard people call themselves “Internet Marketers” as a vocational title — as if to say that they’ve spent time figuring out how to market things on the internet and they made gobs of money (or not), and they’ll teach you how, too.

Now, being a bit of a marketing snob, I almost find it offensive that people who don’t have a lick of academic training in marketing, business ethics and best practices would call themselves “experts” in anything marketing-related.  I think it’s bad for our industry and bad for your business.  Frankly, a lot of these “Internet Marketers” are touting crappy strategies and tactics that can quickly diminish the value and credibility of your expertise.  As an independent professional, I think you should be very wary of any “marketing” person who talks only about websites and sales letters and squeeze pages, with no real attention given to your platform,  your offerings and the messaging that is going to be leveraged by those websites, sales letters and squeeze pages.

There are two cornerstones to a great strategic marketing plan:

1)  A strong offering that solves real problems in the marketplace

2)  A solid understanding of your customers, their “flocking” habits, and their needs, frustrations and goals.

When you understand who your customers are, how they’re organizing themselves in the marketplace, and what messages connect and resonate with them, you can better-evaluate which marketing channels are right for you, and what messages are right for those channels.

Now, let’s talk internet marketing again.  Internet marketing is a CHANNEL. It’s one avenue by which you can connect with your customers.  The snob in me can always tell when someone *really* gets marketing because they refer to Internet marketing within the context of an overall strategy.  A solid marketing strategy is going to include both offline AND online efforts.  Good marketing is also  going to be based on “deep drilling” that has profiled well both what you offer and who your customers are, with effort and intention devoted to getting the messaging right.

With the right strategy, Internet marketing is priceless.  It can help catapult your business to a whole new level when the right conditions are in place to leverage the impact of your Internet marketing channel (including the two cornerstones mentioned above).

The moral of the story: Approach Internet Marketing wisely

1)  If you’re looking for in-the-trenches help with your marketing, you need a partner that’s going to understand both the messaging and the channels.  Choose wisely.  In your preliminary talks with them, you should feel like they “get” you, and they should challenge you with good questions that compel you to dig deep.

2)  If you’ve nailed the messaging and have some momentum in your business, testing out some strategies from “Internet Marketers” might be useful.  I subscribe to the Walgreen’s philosophy on these things:  crawl, walk, run.  Don’t bet the farm on a single strategy or tactic.  Test it, figure out how to get the channel to work for you, then scale your efforts to reap big rewards.

3) Use “Internet marketing” wisely and don’t let it become a snake oil that keeps you from doing the deep work required to really grow your business.  Without the proper context, Internet marketing will rob you of a lot of time, a lot of money, and possibly a lot of credibility with your audience.

Best tips for finding the right prospects for your business

Find more prospects through industry assocationsFor many independent professionals, knowing where to “fish” for good prospects is a crucial step in putting together a solid marketing plan.  Once you know where your most promising prospects gather, you can begin to identify opportunities to connect with, serve, and support them.


Key questions for finding the best prospects

There are a few key questions that can help you profile your customer and hone in on fantastic opportunities for serving them.

Ask yourself:

  1. Who have I enjoyed serving most? Who has given me a particularly profound sense of joy, contribution and fulfillment?
  2. Is there a group or industry that seems drawn to my work?
  3. Who is giving me the most referrals? Why?
  4. Do I have professional and/or corporate experience in a field or industry that would benefit from the ways I want to make a difference?

While there is no fool-proof road map to uncovering your ideal customer, there are some things you can do to begin identifying where in the marketplace a pool of great prospects exists for your work. I’ve offered several key research strategies for finding customers in my article, “How do I find good customers.”  Tops on the list is uncovering which associations provide a gathering-place for people whose needs, frustrations, goals, hopes and dreams are aligned with what you offer.

Network with clients through associations

Associations are basically professional affinity groups, and there is an association for every kind of profession and professional imaginable. When you’re contemplating a certain customer profile, sometimes it can be helpful to learn what associations are acting as a hub for these people; then, you can find out what opportunities might exist for you to network and showcase within them through local meetings, national events, trade shows and industry publications, etc.

There are three resources that might help you find the association(s) you’re looking for:

  1. American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership Directory of Associations. This resource is easy-to-use and updated daily. We recommend using the “Association Name Contains” search feature. This resource will show you the associations, but not their email or web address. You will have to search the web with the association name to find the right URL.
  2. Weddles Association Directory. This list is broken down by subject or industry, and will link you directly to the corresponding website. There isn’t a feature that allows you to do a search of the entire database. You will need to select from their industry categories.
  3. Concept Marketing Group’s Directory of Associations. This is a subscription-based service, with a 48-hour free trial.


Question: What resources have you found to be good sources of information for tapping into your market?

What to do when the going gets tough in business


The Business Owner's Dark Night of the Soul - Our Rite of PassageAt a recent coaches meeting here in Nashville, I had a conversation with a coach who told me, “If someone asks me how they should transition to coaching from full-time employment, I think I would tell them that they should find part-time work to supplement their income until they get their coaching practice off the ground.”

I’ve mused similar things when I’ve hit a point of anguish in my business, particularly when I’m not making the money I need to make–and it hurts.

So many things go through your mind, and every insecure thought you’ve been trying to ignore blares in capital letters, accompanied by very loud music:

I’m a failure.  I can’t do this.  What the heck was I thinking.

I know I’m supposed to be doing this work; they’re idiots for not hiring me!

How could they reject me like that?  I’m so tired of being rejected; I feel so misunderstood.  Why can’t I make them understand that they need to hire me?

What was I thinking taking this on … my work isn’t valuable; people don’t need me.

I’m not good enough to be doing this.  My work isn’t worth the money I’m asking; I’m never going to make a living.

I’m so tired of this roller coaster … is a breakthrough ever going to come?

How am I going to get them to hire me?  What if they find out I don’t have any clients?  They’re going to think I’m no good.

I’m worthless.  Fat. Ugly.

God, you aren’t making this work and that ticks me off!

You get the idea.

Becoming an independent professional isn’t like other career paths.  You’re not pawning someone else’s widget as is typically the case in corporate America.  You’re selling you: your uniqueness, your special gifts, your breakthrough way of helping people get results, your special way of communicating and connecting.  It can feel particularly vulnerable and lonely.

I asked my colleague if she would have faced her fears and made the “big shifts” she needed to make to be successful without the “threat” of looming disaster. Wide-eyed, she realized those perilous moments served her, and that she likely wouldn’t have broken through without them.

My friend, Scott Jeffrey, talks about these dark times in his post, The Hero’s Quest.

The hero’s journey is always one of transformation. Whether you’re trying to build a successful business, raise a family, write a screenplay, travel to a distant land, or produce a work of art, focus on internal growth not external approval.

We are our own heroes. Ask, Who must I become to successfully complete this quest? At first, we won’t know the answer to this vital question, but over time, doors open and we receive a glimpse of who we must become to return anew from the adventure.

No true quest can be seen as mundane when the purpose is clear. Each person’s quest betters all of mankind regardless of how big or small that quest may seem to others. So journey onward.

Much of my work with clients doesn’t focus on what people would typically expect to be marketing activities, because my clients’ success doesn’t hinge solely on how great their website is or what kind of testimonials they’ve included on their one sheet.  Their success depends upon their ability to assign an empowering meaning to their experiences, especially the ones they might think are negative, to make sense of the ups and downs of the journey, and to process what’s not working in their business so they can get some traction and create the results they want.

Success is a spiritual journey
In many ways, the journey toward business success is a very spiritual one: facing our fears, believing in our gifts, trusting God to guide us, sharing a sacred part of our souls with our clients, learning to be brave every single day, remembering that we are merely channels for the amazing results we help manifest in the world.

Rather than looking for something outside of us to make our journey’s easier, we “get there” faster by asking that all-important question:  Who must I become to successfully complete this quest?