5 Oft-Unspoken Keys to a Successful 20+ Year Business

I just called my awesome friend, Karen McCullough, to pick her brain about the business of speaking.

Karen is a brilliant speaker who has been in the speaking business for a long time.  I’m doing some profiling right now for the MarketectU Mastermind project I’ve been telling you guys about lately, and I wanted to get a fresh perspective from Karen.  As it turns out, she’s just returning from the national convention for the National Speaker’s Association and she was a full cup!

Karen and I always have the most stimulating conversations.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her because she’s a true artist when it comes to the business of speaking:  in every way, she hones her craft, reinvents herself and her message over and over again and is always getting better!  Creating longevity as a speaker (especially when speaking is your primary form of income) is no easy feat:  the marketplace is changing so rapidly  and you have to constantly be reinventing yourself. She and I groked some awesome gems that I’m incorporating into this new program, but I couldn’t make you wait a couple more months to hear about them!

We really got going when we started talking about what it takes to be a successful business person in the “information” space:  speaking, coaching, training, writing … whatever it is you do to package your knowledge and expertise.  With so many “marketing experts” telling you how easy it is to become an expert and grow your own platform, we know the truth:  building a platform is a lot of work.  It takes time, and energy, and an incredible amount of resilience to “make it.”  So here is our impassioned food-for-thought!

  1. The most important component to building a successful platform is strong, relevant messaging (and offerings!) that matters.  No matter your expertise, there is a problem that you are obsessed with solving.  Solve it WELL.  And don’t stop solving it … in a dynamic, expanding, connected world, the way our problems “look and feel” are shifting all the time. The way you communicate these problems, the way you understand these problems, the way you resolve these problems is affected by this dynamic environment.  You must constantly be reinventing your messaging.
  2. Creating an experience for your customers matters.  Branding really is king.  It’s important that you learn to pair your message with strong branding.
  3. If YOU are the cornerstone of the brand, it matters how you look.  Looking good, staying lean, taking care of your appearance is really important in this space.  This is not a value judgement — I’m not telling you that it should be this way.  I’m just acknowledging that it IS.  Self care matters.  It not only matters because people are going to derive meaning about your competence from how you look, but it matters because …
  4. To build a successful business, you’ve got to become an endurance athlete.  Everything about building a career in this space hinges on your ability to create and sustain momentum.  You have to get knocked down and get back up more times that you will ever want to count!  You need resilience emotionally and physically.  It’s very important that as you get older, you pay a lot of attention to your own health and vitality (both physically and emotionally!).
  5. People that have the list (and relationships!) have the power.  If you are building a business that does not include a concerted effort to growing your list, you are entrusting your career into the hands of others.  In our ever-shifting world, where we are seeing the epicenters of power dissolving and reorganizing at a breakneck pace, it is absolutely crucial that you take building your own list seriously.  IT MATTERS.

There are a lot of talking heads out there who’d want us to believe that growing a kick-ass business is easy if you know the right marketing strategies, or if you just “follow this formula.”  Things are always easier on paper than in the trenches.  Those who’ve been in the game for a while know that it’s a lot of hard work.  If you want easy, get a job.  Business is for gladiators, baby, and if you are serious about competing, you’ve got to learn to play the game by the rules if you want any chance of succeeding.

My beloved Scott Jeffrey told me early on in my career that as an adventurer, I must always be contemplating:  Who must I become to complete this quest?

What is YOUR secret to staying in business when the going got tough? Share in the comments!

5 Strategies for Building a Website that’s a Powerful Lead-Generator for your Business

Everyone needs a website.

For those of us building a platform, a website is our storefront.  There are a lot of ways you can leverage your website to drive revenue in your business if you know what you’re doing.

I’ve been helping my clients build websites for the last 14 years, and a LOT has changed since we started building them in straight HTML!  And it keeps changing.  14 years is like, 4 lifetimes in the technology world (or more!). If it weren’t for the fact that keeping up with this space is a significant part of how I support our clients, there is no way I’d know how to navigate it well, particularly because things shift so quickly!

There are a few key “rules” I abide by when we help our clients build out new sites.  A website can be a money pit, and frankly, there are only a handful of things that are worth spending money on as it relates to your site.  And how you prioritize and spend money on them depends on the strategies you’re executing and the channels you are leveraging.

The main purpose of your website:  drive your funnels 

A website can (and should!) be so much more than an expensive brochure.  Your website should be driving people to join your list (more on this as we get into the MarketectU Model) and supporting your conversion goals (getting you booked, growing your list, selling stuff).

Unsure of how to structure your site so that you’re able to convert more?  Well, there you have it:  the work you need to do before you waste money on a website!

There are several ways your site should be set up to drive your funnels:

  1. Strategic opt-ins that push people to your list.  I love Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula, and one of the things he teaches as the most important “rule” for growing a platform is always be building your list.  He’s so right on.
  2. RSS functionality if you’ve got a blog.  RSS functionality will allow people to subscribe to your site’s feed so that your new content shows up in their blog reader  (my favorite reader is feed.ly).
  3. Lead Generation – Contact Forms to allow people to request information on services, media or booking inquiries, or general questions.  It’s ideal to use forms provided by the “engines” that manage your business (I like Highrise, MailChimp, and Office Auto Pilot).  Many of these pages should be set up using a landing page-type template for best conversion.
  4. Social Sharing which allows people to like and share your content easily in their social channels.

How can I waste a lot of money on my website?

Want to know how your website can REALLY become a money pit?  Order up all the bells and whistles when you aren’t clear on who your visitors are and what they’ll want to opt-in to or buy.  Spending money building your tools (like your logo and website) before you’ve mapped your funnels and developed your strategy is NOT going to grow your business.  Creating beautiful covers for your products, great logos or marks to brand your services, a beautiful website and business cards … it’s fun.  It’s very fun.  But it’s meaningless unless those activities are window dressing for a really solid strategy,product or offer.

There is a lot of work that goes into building a website “on paper” before you ever build out a live site.  And if you can’t slow down in your business long enough to do the proper due diligence ahead of time, save your money.  You’d be wasting it trying to build out a website without the proper groundwork.

The other way you waste a lot of money?  Changing your mind mid-stream.  I had a web developer colleague tell me once, “People ask me if building their website is going to be expensive.  I tell them that the most expensive thing they can do is to change their mind.”

The MarketectU strategy for building a website hub for your business

So, how do we build websites that are going to effectively support our marketing strategies and grow our businesses?  I follow a few “rules”:

  1. Build your site in WordPress.  I know there are other CMSes out there (like Joomla and Drupal), but if I client comes to me and wants our team to help, we’re building their site in WordPress.  WordPress is free.  It has a huge community of developers and admins that support it, which means you can find help managing your site fairly economically. As the web is shifting, the WordPress platform is keeping up because of their huge developer support community:  they’re developing plugins all the time to integrate new functionality into WordPress. No other platform even comes close to WordPress.com’s affordability and support.
  2. Employ the Law of Crawl-Walk-Run. The Law of Crawl – Walk – Run has been my saving grace in business.  Before I go gangbusters on a new idea or direction, I embrace crawling.  Starting slow, test and measure, and scale with success.  In Good to Great, they call this the Walgreen’s philosophy.
    law-of-crawl-walk-run
    After you’ve sketched out  your site on paper, gather up (or create) your web content and collateral (like graphics, PDFs, video, etc).  Then, have your site developed with a very modest programming budget – we start our clients out at $500-700, plus the cost of the theme.If you’ve aggregated your content well ahead of time, the initial build of your site should only take about a week.  This is where I start with every client.  After we get the basics set and tested, we’ll scale it.
  3. Start with a very basic site using a solid, responsive-design theme.  Responsive design is a theme format that optimizes websites for desktops and provides “app-like” experiences on smartphones, tablets and e-readers.  People are viewing your website on more devices than ever, and there was a time that in order to ensure a good viewing experience on a multitude of devices, you would need to build out a separate design or framework or theme for each different size.No more! Responsive design is awesome, and it really cuts down on your optimizing costs (there was a time we’d have to build out several templates for mobile viewing … it racked up costs).  Make sure the theme you choose to work with on your new project is responsive design.  We are using the Mineral Theme and Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed Theme and really like them.  They provide a ton of flexibility, and are letting us scale out functionality slowly, over time, as our clients are continuing to expand their platforms. (Check out this great scrolldeck from John Polacek explaining responsive design.)
  4. Integrate key functionality so your site supports social media and direct marketing efforts.  Add plugins to make it easier to “like” and share your content.  Make sure your theme links to your social media accounts.  Integrate call-to-action functionality like “download” buttons and contact forms (most mail programs will give you the code to embed a form on your site).
  5. Consider “branding” your offers visually with clean graphics to help visitors acclimate to where they’re at in your site’s “experience.”  Many people have multiple opt-ins and offers, and it can be confusing or even overwhelming to visitors to keep track of what’s-what.  And when people are uncertain, they don’t take action.A simple visual graphic can help streamline their experience and orient them to what they’re participating in so that they feel confident about interacting with your site.  When you shift gears between these different offers, the visual mark helps visitors connect to the “thing” you’re discussing as they travel through your site. Remember:  you know what all this stuff means.  They don’t necessarily.

Starting with basic infrastructure is best.  Once you get your theme and “starter” content into place, you can do some usability exercises to see where you can make improvements and develop your funnels.

My favorite thing about building a site this way is it allows you to engage, to “get into the game,” without needing a crystal ball to show you the photo finish of your site at the outset.  You do need to have a sense of who your target market is, the funnels you’re building, and what your main conversion goals are.  And of course, some visual branding and good photographs are necessary to get you started.  But growing your business is a marathon that ebbs and flows and twists and turns.  The more flexible your website’s foundation, the better you’ll be able to respond to the market, take advantage of new ideas and trends so that you’re monetizing your platform as powerfully as possible, and build out conversion funnels that keeps your audience engaged and adds a tremendous amount of value.  This paradigm “eats the elephant one bite at a time.”

As you make progress with your proactive marketing strategies (like interviews, speaking, list building, and social engagement — a website is not a strategy), you can build out additional functionality like a slider for the home page to showcase multiple offers or key content, or landing pages to drive your funnels, or fully-developed media and speaking pages. Bit-by-bit, your website can scale with you, allowing you to control your cost and avoid paying for functionality you end up not needing or using.

Tell me:  what are some of your challenges or frustrations with building and managing your website?  Any burning questions as you think about your next site design?  Share with me in the comments!

5 Strategies for Building an In-House, Virtual Team of Contractors

In 2008, I plunged into the “virtual assistant” world by hiring my first virtual assistant.  She was in Detroit, and I barely knew what I needed.

This wasn’t my first time hiring a contractor to help me take care of my clients … for the previous four years, I’d worked with local talent and offshore talent to build graphics and design websites for me.

I have learned a TON about building a virtual time over the last ten years.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve done a lot of things right.  Today, I’ve got a great team of about 15 different contractors who work really hard taking care of our clients.  They are all rock stars in their own right, and I’ve been able to build this team in large part because we follow the Law of Win-Win: I mindful to creating opportunities and engaging with clients only when we both win.

This is my favorite Marketect Law.  I am passionate about win-win relationships—when I see my clients or colleagues struggling with their clients or team members, I can often see subtle strands of violations of this law permeating the chaos.

It is impossible to nail this 100% of the time.  When you’re plunging into something new, or venturing into unknown territory, you often don’t have the foresight to be able to set win-win conditions.  Let’s face it:  sometimes we learn our lessons by getting drug behind a truck.  We’re human.  If you’re like me, you beat yourself up after the truck is done with you (I’m working on that).

law-of-win-win

When it comes to hiring our team members, I’ve learned what the conditions are that make working for me and our clients a “win” for contractors 80% of the time.  And I’ve also learned what our clients need to feel comfortable working with our team.

Here are a few things we do to “hedge our bets” on setting up a win-win environment that honors the interests of SMS, our clients and our contractors:

    1. Think through a great job description.  Before we hire someone, we map out what kind of skills and abilities we want them to have, the software / cloud programs we want them to be experienced in, and we try to be really clear in our expectations.  I want someone to read our job postings and think, “That is so not for me,” or, “OMG, they are looking for ME!”  We are as specific as we know to be.If I’m hiring in a brand new “green” area (one in which I don’t have a lot of first-hand experience), I will talk to colleagues and other team members to get some help so I can attract the right person.
    2. Set up good cloud-based processes and systems to streamline collaboration.  Our team is virtual, meaning that everyone works in their own work environment (home, coffee shop, etc). Initially, I worked with that first VA by assigning tasks via phone calls and emails.  It didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off the bus:  tasks were overlooked, deadlines slipped, details got confusing, steps were skipped … it was very frustrating for me AND for her.Most people care about doing a good job.  They don’t want to be sloppy.  They want their boss or client to be happy with their work. Our team is very accountable (more on that later) for completing work successfully, but when things don’t go right, I don’t stop at calling out a misstep.  I step back and examine our processes to see how we could have set things up to succeed from the outset. Yes, each person is responsible for their work, but if I can tweak our process so that they are able to succeed easier, WE BOTH WIN.

      We use Basecamp Classic for our project management … you can’t sign up for Basecamp Classic from the 37signals website any longer.  You actually have to email them and ask them to set you up in the classic version.  Basecamp Classic doesn’t have the slick interface of the newer Basecamp, but it has crucial functionality around templates that aren’t part of the new program.  I’ll teach you a bit more on Basecamp in a future blog post.

    3. Track time to the minute.  I have tried every-which-way of pricing out the work our contractors execute for our clients, and the only way that I’ve been able to land on a predictable win-win is to have our team members track time to the minute.  We will estimate all projects for our clients before they’re executed, but if our team members don’t use all the time, we bill only what was needed.  If we run into glitches or bumps that require more time than expected, we get approval for extra time in advance. ##This does a few things: ##a) our contractors don’t lose their shirt on project creep or scope changes because a client can’t make up their mind, ##b) our clients don’t deal with padded time where they’re paying more than they should to have work done,c) our clients are mindful of their demands and expectations…put another way:  changing your mind is expensive. If a contractor loses their shirt on one or more of your projects, they aren’t super motivated to keep working with you.  Trust is breeched.##Estimating projects and tracking time to the minute is the best way I have found to balance the interests of all involved so that I could create continuity on our team.
    4. Projects must be completed to be billed.  There is nothing more frustrating to me, personally, when working with a contractor in a virtual environment than to have to pay for work that I’m not yet able to leverage, or to have deadlines creep on and on and on with work not being completed. I know enough about human behavior to know that properly placed carrots are a better motivator than me micromanaging details.

      But there’s another dimension to this, too:  people who work on a contract basis consider themselves to be business owners in their own right, and they value freedom and flexibility.  It is important to me to create a work environment that both gives them freedom and flexibility, and also has built-in accountability so the work is getting done.

    5. Enforce a strict communication policy.  Early on, when a client came to me with a question on one of our projects, I’d promise to find out and get right back to them before reaching out to the team member.  When it was crickets over the phone or email, I would get incredibly frustrated and even embarrassed because I didn’t want our clients to feel like we weren’t available when they needed us, or we didn’t care about their details. Sometimes, I wouldn’t be able to reach that team member for a day or two.

      Communication in a virtual environment is one of the biggest obstacles to developing a cohesive team.

      Over the years, our policy evolved to something like this:

      • Office hours are 9 to 5.
      • All team members should be logged on to Skype during office hours (either on your desktop or phone).
      • If we need to reach you, you commit to respond within an hour.
      • If you are going to be unavailable for any reason for two hours or more, send a calendar invite to me, your team lead and any relevant parties so that we know you’re out of pocket.  You are not asking for permission, you are simply communicating your availability.
      • This shift was a breath of fresh air!  We had fewer fires, we were able to get fires under control quicker, deadlines across the board were being met more efficiently, timeline creep drastically lessened, our team members felt more connected to each other and to our work because they were accountable to each other … this was HUGE.

Our clients, overall, really enjoy working with our team, and our team members are invested in both SMS and our clients.

It is important to me that clients feel taken care of and trust that the work is being done well. When I first started offering support services to our clients, I dealt with some skepticism about whether or not this “virtual team thing” was really going to work out for them … there can be a lot of uncertainty around trusting people you can’t see or you haven’t hired yourself to take care of your “baby.” This policy has gone a long way in helping us to get over the hump and add real value to our clients on a budget!

What are some of your biggest frustrations in hiring or working with virtual team members?  Or what are some great “tricks” you’ve learned for leveraging virtual assistants or team members?  Let’s talk about them in the comments!

The Secret to Building Your Platform and Selling More

When I was a kid, my sisters and I LOVED Super Mario Brothers. I had the prestigious honor of being the first one in the family to conquer the last world (8-4) to win the entire game. In this dungeon, you had to jump over bad guys, squat down pipes and eat coins, all in a very specific order in order to keep progressing to the ultimate challenge: the biggest fire-breathing dragon yet.  Your charge:  slay him and save the princess.

super-mario-bros-ending-e1296602742128

If you didn’t squat down the pipe, the level would repeat and it’s like you’d be stuck in this Groundhog Day of about 10 seconds’ worth of the maze, repeating ad nauseum.  A bummer when time would run out and, welp, you were still basically at the start.  And remember, you have a limited number of lives:  you’re too dense to make progress?  Then … game over.

I ended up conquering level 8-4 through sheer repetition:  copious hours of tedious jumping and squatting and coin-consuming.  I played the game over and over and over, each time eeking a little further into the dungeon.

I showed my sisters exactly what I did and they were able to conquer the level, save the princess and win the game much faster because someone showed them the key sequence. Ironically, I didn’t realize at first that there was a pattern.  It just seemed odd that the game would sometimes let you move deeper and sometimes start you over.  What’s going on?!  I remember thinking initially.  And if one of us got farther than the other, “Hey!  That’s not fair!”

One day, there was an “Ah-ha!!!” moment: there was a cryptic “order” to progressing through this level.  I had to figure out the exact steps if I was going to save the princess.

Last fall, I had my designer help me create what would end up being an infographic to show our clients the MarketectU framework we followed to help them build a solid, scalable marketing plan and business. I wanted our clients to visually “see” how our process worked … the strategic context for why-we-do-what-we-do-WHEN-WE-DO-IT matters.  There are a lot of different strategies you can implement to grow your business.  And they’re all potentially good–if you do them at the right time.  But if you execute them at the wrong time, oh man.  The frustration of losing time, money, energy, opportunity …it can really suck.

No one likes to feel like they’ve failed, especially when they’ve invested SO MUCH.

Over the years, I’ve developed what has turned into a set of Marketect Laws: principles that provide an anchor for how to make solid business decisions. As my foray back into the blogosphere, I’m going to start breaking down the framework, the context, for how to assess and build your own business development strategy.  This exercise isn’t just about marketing … and Marketecting (our unique approach to mapping out and implementing your business strategy) isn’t just about marketing, either.  This philosophy, if you will, represents the convergence of marketing, leadership, team development and execution. There is a bit of an art to how you pull things together.

law-of-sequencing

Marketect Law: Law of Sequencing

The law of sequencing has at its core a few fundamental principles:

  1. Sequencing matters.  A lot.  Dialing a phone number’s digits in the wrong order will result in your call not going through to the right person.  Switching the words around in a sentence interferes with its meaning (“Jim bit the dog.” “The dog bit Jim.”)  Understanding the progression of events or activities required so that your efforts are sustainable  matters.  It’s not fun to excrete every ounce of energy out of ourselves to execute on a strategy or initiative, only to have to walk away from it because we don’t have the resources (time, energy, leverage) to keep it going.
  2. Our anxiety or fears can often get in the way of us doing things in the right order. We’re impatient, or we’re avoiding, or we’re ignorant and asking for help makes us uncomfortable.  I am just as guilty of this as anyone.
  3. Executing on strategy requires discipline.  Sometimes, the hardest thing for independent professionals to come by is discipline … we don’t have someone standing over us or holding us accountable.  I’m jotting this down and a topic for a future blog post, because we need to tune in here and start executing some really solid strategies for harnessing ourselves to anchors that provide discipline so we can get over this hump!

Stay tuned … more on sequencing coming right up!

Where do you see the Law of Sequencing showing up in your business?  Do you have some what’s-the-right-order questions about growing your business for us to grok?  Leave a comment!

 

This Wednesday! June 27, See Misty LIVE in Nashville at Spark & Hustle

On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, Tory Johnson brings Spark & Hustle to take over Nashville for one jam-packed, high-energy day featuring an all-star line-up of experts who are running successful businesses including marketing pro Misty Williams who will share her expertise on online tools for small businesses.

If you’re in the Nashville area, we’d love you to come on out! You’ll experience big breakthroughs in your business and yourself. Learn, laugh, and leave with a ton of value.

 


Women attend Spark & Hustle for two main reasons: content and connections.

  • Learn fresh ways to build your business and boost your bottom line
  • Meet prospective clients, customers, collaborators and champions

Come join Misty and the other experts, and let’s make it happen together!

To learn more about the events—and of course to join us—visit http://www.sparkandhustle.com.

TODAY 1PM CST: Listen LIVE to Misty on Small Business Radio with Caz Taylor

Listen to Misty’s interview on Small Business Radio with Caz Taylor.

Today at 1PM Central, join me live for my interview with Caz Taylor on his show, SBA Radio. Caz is a professional broadcaster dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.

Together, we’ll be talking about marketing solutions for small business owners. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how independent professionals can create marketing plans that encourage business growth.

You can check out Caz’s show and tune in for our interview here.

If you are tuning in now — or after the show, I’m so excited you’re here! If this is your first time to my site, you might want to check out my welcome page to help show you around and let you know how you can leverage all the content I’ve been developing to support your business. If you’ve got questions that we weren’t able to get to on the show, please leave a comment. I will personally respond to any comments from listeners so everyone can benefit as we continue the conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty’s core How Should I Market Myself? Program is designed to educate independent professionals (speakers, authors, coaches, consultants) on the given processes and strategies that create effective Marketing Gameplans that successfully grow businesses. Click below to download your free copy of her How Should I Market Myself? Workbook now.

Helpful (Free!) Resources

Emotional Triggers & Pleasure States

Download Manipulation-free Marketing White Paper

Library of Articles

Ready to take your business to the next level? Schedule a free strategy session with Misty.
If you’d like me to come speak to your group, conduct a webinar or teleseminar, or facilitate a workshop or breakout session about marketing, check out my Meeting Planners page or contact Diana: Diana@MyStrategicMarketer.com for more information.  I love, love, LOVE sharing with groups and would be honored to receive your invitation. icon smile How to Find Marketing Support on my Blog

TODAY (Monday, May 14) Noon Central: Listen LIVE to Misty’s Interview on Accelerate Your Business Growth with Diane Helbig

Listen to Misty’s interview here:

Listen to internet radio with Diane Helbig on Blog Talk Radio

Today at 12 noon central, join me live for my interview with Diane Helbig on her show, Accelerate Your Business Growth. Together, we’ll be talking about leveraging the top two strategies for creating an ongoing pipeline of leads.

Diane is a speaker and workshop facilitator who helps clients see that having clarity in business and sales is the key to having a successful, thriving business. Her radio show, Accelerate Your Business Growth, brings valuable, actionable information to listeners and each episode provides a

Tune in for our LIVE call at 12 CT today to learn how to structure your marketing campaign to create business today and in the future.

If you happen to be here after our live show, I’m very happy you’ve dropped by! Feel free to check out my welcome page where you can learn how to find marketing support on my blog and start to leverage all of the content I’ve been developing to help with your business.

If you want to know something that Diane and I weren’t able to get to during the show, please leave a comment and I’ll personally answer all of your questions. I look forward to sharing the benefit we’ll all receive from continuing this conversation.

Helpful (Free!) Resources

Ready to take your business to the next level? Schedule a free strategy session with Misty.

If you’d like me to come speak to your group, conduct a webinar or teleseminar, or facilitate a workshop or breakout session about marketing, check out my Meeting Planners page or contact Diana: Diana@MyStrategicMarketer.com for more information.  I love, love, LOVE sharing with groups and would be honored to receive your invitation.

Listen to Misty’s interview on Small Business Radio

Today, I was a guest on Small Business Radio.

I shared some thoughts on why marketing plans often don’t work and how to better-leverage social media.

You can check out the show: http://www.wsradio.com/radio_showspage.aspx?id=22.

If you heard me on the show, I’m excited you’re here! If this is you first time to my site, you might want to check out my welcome page to help show you around, let you know how you can leverage all the content I’ve been developing to support your business.

If you’ve got questions, please leave a comment. I will personally respond to any comments from listeners so everyone can benefit as we continue the conversation.

If you’re interesting in getting some support and would like a free strategy session, check out ways I can help you here.

Helpful (Free!) Resources

Emotional Triggers & Pleasure States
Library of Articles

Manipulation Free Marketing Report – What you need to know to book new business *almost* effortlessly!

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Email

How Should I Market Myself – Lesson 1

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Email
Ready to take your business to the next level? Schedule a free strategy session with Misty.
If you’d like me to come speak to your group, conduct a webinar or teleseminar, or facilitate a workshop or breakout session about marketing, check out my Meeting Planners page or contact Diana: Diana@MyStrategicMarketer.com for more information.  I love, love, LOVE sharing with groups and would be honored to receive your invitation. icon smile How to Find Marketing Support on my Blog

Listen LIVE to Misty’s interview TODAY (Tuesday, Jan 10) with Donna Price, Bizology Radio

Today, I’m guesting on BizologyBuzz with Donna Price.  You can check out her website and tune in for our call here.


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Steve Jobs (1955-2011): You can only connect the dots looking backwards

Contemplatively, I just watched the commencement speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005.  It’s very moving and profound, to say the least.  In it, he talks about his brush with death, how he hopes to live another 20 or 30 years, and shares some of the most profound lessons of his life.



Like many, I’m struck by the tragedy we all feel at losing someone so innovative, so extraordinary … so young.  In spite of all his amazing contributions to modern culture, I’m wondering, Did we receive all of his gifts? A heavy thought to ponder, no doubt.  But one thing is certain: he lived to give them.  An intense, driven creator, there’s no question that he lived his life as one committed to giving us all that he had–and he took a lot of heat for it.

My colleague, Lori Collins, pointed out what is sure to be remembered as the most profound part of his speech:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

The chills are relentless as I contemplate the gravity of his observation, the unchanging reality that he is gone forever. I’m thinking of the times I wallow in my own selfish self-pity when contemplating a next move, or weighing the risk-reward of showing up authentically, of risking rejection, of (god-forbid) being a total failure at something I care about succeeding at deeply.

When reflecting on his life, he profoundly reveals:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever… because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

Every week, I talk to amazing professionals who are struggling to figure out their next move, trying to make sense of their path, digging deep in hopes of hitting inspiration or courage to fuel the next leg of their journey.  These people are incredibly creative, loving, giving souls who have been given really special gifts which often are considered “unconventional.” They don’t quite fit into the current molds and models of society, so giving these gifts requires courage and heart, passion and conviction, and FAITH that this journey is the right one, that everything will pay off in the end.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the ttrap of thinking you ahve somethign to lose. You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.  And thank you.