What Are Your Business Weaknesses?

In today’s blog post, I will share how it’s important to check in on your business weaknesses if you want to build a strong business.

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We often talk about strengths in business, “play to your strengths”, “figure out what you’re good at”, “combine your strengths with what you’re passionate about in business and then everything will be easier’. They’re all true, but what about your business weaknesses though? Some weaker areas of your business can be outsourced and then there are some that you either need to understand before you outsource them, or you just need to know them yourself.

Maybe you’re someone that could list 10-20 weaknesses in your business right now, where you’ve got a long list of limiting beliefs, but which weaknesses are real and could do with addressing?

Let’s take one of mine that I’ve been working on lately. Finances in my business. At the beginning of this year I did Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year, and as part of the programme you have to do a review of different areas of your business. I knew without answering any questions where I’d stand on the financials. I’d get my accounts done on time, I had an idea in my head of where my main income streams come from, but there was no way I could tell you exact numbers around specific marketing strategies that were working, not working.

We can feel scared of our weaknesses. I was definitely an ostrich when it came to my numbers. Like anything though, you can’t improve something that you have no real awareness of. The first step is understanding your areas of weakness, then you can set some plans in place to overcome them. I’ve always found writing much easier than number crunching. I can do it. Hey, I managed some big budgets in my HR days, but I have to think much harder when it comes to doing the numbers. It doesn’t come naturally to me.

A few areas that come up with my clients are not having clarity around their marketing message, for some it’s being afraid of the technology around doing a video, or knowing how to write a blog post. For some, like me, it’s looking at the numbers. Maybe it’s being afraid of social media and not knowing what to write.

Once you are aware of your weaknesses, you can get help with them. You can develop the skill set you need to move yourself and your business forward. If someone mentions something to you and it triggers you then it’s worth considering what it is about that thing that triggers you.

Here’s a few quick tips to help you:

  • Write down areas of your business that you feel weak in (areas that challenge you) Ones that make you want to run away and hide, in the hope that they will go away if you don’t talk about them
  • Taking each area in turn, do a mini review
  • Do you need to understand this yourself?
      • If ‘yes’ – then how can you learn more about it? How can you become proficient in this area? (i.e. take a course, read a book, practice, get some coaching/mentoring – I’m waving if you need support!
      • ‘If ‘no’ – then who could take on this aspect of your business for you? (i.e. outsource it)
  • If you don’t develop this area, will it be an issue for your business? (as in if you keep burying your head in the sand will it become an issue?)
    • If yes, what’s the impact of doing nothing?
    • On a scale of 1-10, where 10 is ‘this is really urgent’ and 1 is ‘I can chill about this’, how quickly does it need addressing?

Now you have awareness around each of these different areas, prioritise your list and ask what action do you need to take. Here’s a working example:

  • I have no idea how to schedule social media. It’s taking up loads of time loading it manually every day
  • I’d like some control over it, so I still want to create my own content but I’d love some help scheduling as that’s the bit I don’t find easy
  • If I don’t get my content scheduled, and keep hiding away from doing it, then I could be losing potential clients. It’s costing me money
  • On a scale of 1-10 it’s a 7. I’ve already had people saying that I’m not consistent with my social media and they ended up going with other businesses to get support, so it needs to be a priority now. Ideally I want to get it sorted this month
  • I will speak to 3 different freelancers that do social media scheduling and get 3 quotes. I’ll also pull together a plan of my content so that I know what days/times I want content scheduled, and which platforms I want to use

Remember, you don’t need to hide from your weaknesses in your business. Just get the information and then work on how to make improvements. When you’re in the corporate world you have departments that manage the different aspects of business. You can’t be great at all things, so give yourself a break, but you do still need to know what impact your weaknesses might be having in general.

Hiding your head in the sand won’t help!

So, in case you wondered what I ended up doing around my ‘money ostrich’. I worked with a lovely 90-day Coach, Sara Roach-Lewis, who helped me to put in some simple systems in place to be more money savvy. I now have set days that I work on my finances. Am I perfect?  Ummm that would be a no, I have a looooong way to go, but now I am able to make much better informed decisions because I have the data to back it all up. I also feel just a teeny, tiny bit more growed up now too!

Your call to action: Review your weaknesses in your business and put a plan in place to turn them into strengths, or at the very least put a plan in place to outsource the areas you’re not so good at.

Want to know more about outsourcing? Read an article I wrote about it here.

Remember to check out my Visibility Quiz to find out whether you’re a Visibility Lady, Countess, Princess or Queen. If you’re a guy then please change the names to Lord, Count, Prince and King) Once you’ve got your score I’d love for you to come on over to my pinned post on my business page and tell me what score you got. There’s a chance to win a little prize each month.

Also, I would love to interview Ladies, Countesses, Princesses & Queens on my podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. I’ll be asking you all about what you do on visibility right now, what’s working for you, what’s not and where you’d like to be. If you’re interested then apply for your spot here – http://bit.ly/PodVisQuiz. In order for your application to be considered, you’ll need to have completed the quiz though as I’ll need to know what you’ve scored etc.

Have You Eaten Your Frog?

In this blog post, I will share 8 ways that you stop procrastinating and get things done in your biz

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Procrastinating can be fun. Until it’s not! It can dent your confidence, where you keep putting things off and not achieving what you want to achieve.

I do think there are positives to procrastination too though. What I mean by that is sometimes you’ll be procrastinating because you don’t have all of the information you need, or the timing isn’t right etc. This blog isn’t about that! This is about not doing the things you’re meant to be doing. I’m going to share a few ways to beat your procrastination.

This is a little list intentionally. If you’re a procrastinator giving you yet more to read or learn isn’t going to help you crack the habit of procrastinating!

  1. Clear Your Energy Drainers

There are things in life that we tolerate, we let them build up.  It might be a blown light bulb, a shredding bin that needs emptying, some paperwork etc.  Each time we see this pile or list of jobs to do it can drain our energy. It also has quite a powerful impact on how we feel about ourselves.  If we can’t achieve the simplest of things then why would we even bother trying the bigger stuff?

Write a list of the top things you are putting off and work through them one by one.  Your confidence will grow as you achieve them.

  1. Don’t Over-Think It (Less Time Thinking, More Time Doing)

This is pretty straightforward – don’t over-think it. I’ve just finished the book, ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins. She has a fabulously simple little strategy of counting down from 5 to 1 and on 1 doing that thing you’re putting off. It helps you get loads done! (Read her book for more info)

We spend so much time thinking about tasks that need doing and yet put them off.  Less thinking, more doing = more time doing the things you love.

  1. Eat Your Frog

As Brian Tracy says in his book of the same name. Get the big jobs (that one you know you’re totally going to put off) out of the way – it makes the day way more fun.

  1. Most Important Tasks

Set yourself up for success.

Set your top Most Important Tasks for the Day or MIT’s (I first learned this from Leonie Dawson, I think it might be from Stephen Covey originally, I’m not sure)

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique (Check Out This Link For More Info)

Set a timer for 25 minutes to see what you can achieve. Break down the task (Pomodoro) (set a 15/25-minute timer, put in 100% effort on that task.  When the timer goes off, put it away – just take one step at a time).

  1. Don’t Wait For Perfect (I know, this one is tough if you’re a perfectionist)

Sometimes you just need to take a risk and put it out there. Remember mistakes are ok. There will also be mistakes that you make but it’s how you learn from those mistakes and what you do differently next time that will make all the difference.

Often the fear of it not being perfect can result in procrastination.  There is debate about this but I know certainly for me I put off things because by not putting them out there means I can’t get it wrong.  I’m a work in progress.

Choose a ‘have a go’ attitude.

 

  1. Give Yourself Permission

You need to give yourself permission to make mistakes. If someone else made that mistake we would encourage them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try again – we ‘give them permission’. Not so easy when it’s you, I know.

  • Give yourself permission to be you
  • Give yourself permission to change your mind and go in a completely different direction
  • Give yourself permission to be happy

If you have learnt something from the mistake and want to keep going that’s great – but conversely if it’s really making you unhappy then it’s ok to give yourself permission to change your mind!

  1. Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously
  • Lighten up!
  • Take responsibility for your own life
  • How can you bring more fun into your life?

Recommended Reading:

Call To Action: I’ve shared lots of different ways to stop procrastinating. Now go and eat that frog!

Remember to check out my Visibility Quiz to find out whether you’re a Visibility Lady, Countess, Princess or Queen. If you’re a guy then please change the names to Lord, Count, Prince and King) Once you’ve got your score I’d love for you to come on over to my pinned post on my business page and tell me what score you got. There’s a chance to win a little prize each month.

Also, I would love to interview Ladies, Countesses, Princesses & Queens on my podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. I’ll be asking you all about what you do on visibility right now, what’s working for you, what’s not and where you’d like to be. If you’re interested then apply for your spot here – http://bit.ly/PodVisQuiz. In order for your application to be considered, you’ll need to have completed the quiz though as I’ll need to know what you’ve scored etc.

Are You Really Focused In Your Business?

In today’s blog post, I will share two ways to be super-focused in your business.

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I used to think I was really focused. I wasn’t. I was just under the illusion that I was.

I was working hard but I wasn’t focused on the right things.

I’d set up goals and then wonder at the end of it if I’d even achieved them because they weren’t that clear.  That was, until I read two books – ‘The One Thing’ & ‘The 12 Week Year’, which really changed how I do things.

Side note: I am also one of those weird people that loves bitty admin! If I can do a bit of admin instead of the bigger stuff then I will, it’s fun! (Yeah #Weird, I know!)

It all started with the book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller – which in a nutshell is about focusing on ONE thing at a time. You don’t need to read it now haha. No, seriously, do read it. It will get you thinking differently about how you do things.

Sounds easy focusing on one thing, doesn’t it? It’s really challenging!

We think we’re good at focus, but are we really? I don’t know about you but I know that if I see a little red notification pop up on my phone, I’ve completely lost focus. I can’t concentrate until I check what it is. I have to turn off my notifications or they will take me off track. Same with the desktop app for my email. Seems silly really, but needs must.

I also know that I want to check my emails about 20 million times a day. Okay not that much but I’m guesstimating it would be nearly 75-100 times a day. I am working on checking it 3 times a day and it’s killing me man! I know I lose a huge chunk of time by checking email constantly, so have had to take drastic measures.

What if something comes up that needs action? It will be fine, I know that realistically, but my addiction wants me to ‘just check really quickly before you do your next task on the list, it will only take a moment’. Yeah, right, down the rabbit hole I go! Constant work in progress is what you should be hearing here!

If it’s client related, all of my clients know to message me in Asana (a project management tool) and not my inbox as I always have that open.

What I do now though is bring back the focus – I ask myself – “What am I meant to be working on right now?” And some days it’s something I have to ask myself a gazillion times a day. It’s actually a great thing to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed too. When you’ve only got one thing on the list to concentrate on you’re telling the other things they can wait until you’ve completed. Completing feels gooooood!

Focus on ONE single thing at a time. Tell yourself you CAN do it, even if like me you have to do it over and over again for it to actually happen!

Onto book two, the 12-Week Year. This book has been a game changer for me. Essentially you set yourself goals and then rate your performance against those goals, with stats. Have I lost you yet?!!

Let’s say you set a goal to create more content – the overall goal would be broken down into various elements and a percentage attached to it. Here’s what that might be like in practice:

Overall goal: Create 7 days of content to share across my 4 main social media platforms

Tasks to achieve that goal:

  1. Write 1 blog post
  2. Write 1 Facebook post
  3. Create a guest post plan – who to contact/when
  4. Do 1 Facebook live

So 4 elements, with 100% being the overall goal. Each element = 25% (100 divided by total number of tasks)

Now let’s say you only achieve 3 of 4 tasks, you will have hit 75% of your goal. The aim is to hit 86% or above.

All sounds easy, but you need to be REALLY clear on what the initial goal is and how to break it down or you can get to the end of the time period you’ve set without hitting your goal because there were more elements to it than you thought. So you learn very quickly about being really specific with your goals, so that they’re easily measured.

I usually set myself 3 main goals to work to, that way it’s not overwhelming and everything I’m working on is linked to those 3 goals. Often I’ve got one main business goal, one mindset goal and one personal goal, all of which get broken down into different elements.

This system isn’t for everyone and when I did the 90 Day Year it added even more structure to the mix, but if you’re someone that likes accountability then this might work for you. Either way, getting more clarity around what you want to achieve in your business will help you measure your goals much better and create way more success. You need to keep focused. Added bonus:  you won’t feel a slave to your notifications either!

Call to Action: Check in with yourself – how focused are you really being? Maybe it’s time to start to notice and then make some changes!

Remember to check out my Visibility Quiz to find out whether you’re a Visibility Lady, Countess, Princess or Queen. If you’re a guy then please change the names to Lord, Count, Prince and King) Once you’ve got your score I’d love for you to come on over to my pinned post on my business page and tell me what score you got. There’s a chance to win a little prize each month.

Also, I would love to interview Ladies, Countesses, Princesses & Queens on my podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. I’ll be asking you all about what you do on visibility right now, what’s working for you, what’s not and where you’d like to be. If you’re interested then apply for your spot here – http://bit.ly/PodVisQuiz. In order for your application to be considered, you’ll need to have completed the quiz though as I’ll need to know what you’ve scored etc.

What Stories Are You Telling Yourself?

In today’s blog post, I will talk about fear and shares a simple exercise to help you work through your fears in business.

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Running a business can be scary. The trouble is, we can also make it SO much scarier than it needs to be.

We can create ‘stories’ around our business that don’t serve us.

If you want to be successful in business, you want to have stories that empower you, rather than disempower you.

For most business owners, the thought of showing up and being visible can feel really uncomfortable. It can make you feel anxious, and sometimes even physically sick. Your mindset monkeys can get in the way and you might be asking yourselves things like:

  • What if they think my service/ offering isn’t good enough?
  • What if I market my services and nobody wants to work with me?
  • What if people don’t like me?
  • What if they judge me for what I put out there?
  • What if I’m successful?
  • What if I’m a failure?

Let me ask you something different:

  • What if the opposite is true?
  • What if your work is good enough?
  • What if people do like you and do want to work with you?
  • What if you do become a success?

What you’re telling yourself every day is building on your story. Let’s talk about the story you might be creating in your biz right now. Maybe this is what you’re telling yourself:

  • I have to work really hard
  • It’s challenging getting new clients
  • I find technology really challenging
  • Sales conversations are awkward
  • I never have enough time to do all I need to do
  • I take two steps forward and one step back
  • I’m going to have to go back and get a ‘proper’ job

Let’s shine a light on all of this fear, so that you can step into the successful business owner that you want to be.

Here’s a simple exercise for you:

Write down any of the fears that come up for you as you think about your business. These are all becoming your story, and we want to create a much more fabulous story instead!

Once you have a list of your fears, now you can start to do something about them.

I developed an acronym of FEAR, which was inspired by a coach I used to work with. She used, “I see you, I acknowledge you, I release you.”

Here’s what FEAR stands for and how you use the exercise:

F – Feelings – get into the feelings that are coming up for you and write them down
E – Express – read them out loud
A – Acknowledge – that it’s okay to have those feelings, thank them for showing up and choose to view things differently going forward
R – Release – Choose to release them one by one, by focusing on each one and saying “I choose to release you now” as you cross each one off the list

Here’s how it works in practice:

What you’ve written: “I have to work really hard in my business…”

Feeling: Mine is you have to work really hard, that brings up a feeling of anxiety in my tummy, it makes me feel worried that I won’t be able to do the other things that I want to do. (You can write the feeling if you want, or just feel into it – if you can. I often have to ‘think’ into it, but I do know if I really think about the issue it does bring up some kind of sensation/feeling for me)

Express: I have to work really hard to be successful in my business – say this statement out loud

Acknowledge: Say “Thank you for bringing this fear to my attention. I acknowledge you” (your mind is trying to protect you by bringing up this fear), acknowledge that this is how you feel. It’s okay for you to feel that way.

Release: I choose to release you now, cross it off the list. You can even say ‘Rubbish’ or ‘Nonsense’ or whatever word works for you to release any power it has over you. It’s SO freeing! You could even burn or shred the piece of paper, whatever works for you.

Now sometimes the fears don’t come back, but I’ve found that sometimes they are persistent and will still be there which is where we can then dig a bit more. The more you work on your fear, the easier you can clear it.

So, it’s time to let it all go and start creating a new, more empowering story.

Don’t let fear stop you from sharing what you do with the world. You’ve been given gifts and talents that people need you to share!

Your call to action: Shine the light on your fears by writing them out and working through them.

Here’s a link to my Fabulous Resource Centre: http://bit.ly/FabResCtr You’ll also get access to lots of other biz resources too!

3 Simple Strategies To Get Visible When You’re Super Busy

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about tripling time, tomatoes and a simple yet powerful word.

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It’s all well and good planning out whole days in your diary to work on your business, but what if you’re so busy with clients, you just don’t have that much time to hand?

That’s when you need to be super smart with your time.

Sometimes, just taking baby steps is all you can do. The good thing is that baby steps forward are still better than doing nothing, so don’t let limited time stop you from being visible altogether.

Here’s 3 simple strategies to help you get smarter with your time:

  1. Plan In Some Pomodoro Time

I love to use Pomodoros to keep me focused. If you’ve not heard of them it’s a fab little technique by Francesco Cirillo. You basically set a timer for 25 minutes and work until the timer goes off. It’s amazing what you can get done when you put some time pressure on yourself. No more messing about! You can get some great Pomodoro apps. I personally use Be Focused Pro on my iPhone, just search for tomato timers or Pomodoro timers. Failing that, just set a kitchen timer.

In my Rock Your Visibility programme, we use Pomodoros to get stuff done. It’s a great way to clear things off your list.

If you’re shouting at me saying, 25 minutes, if only I had 25 minutes, then just do 5-10 minutes. Even doing a focused task for 5-10 minutes is going to be progress.

In 5-10 minutes you could go into a group and comment on 3 posts, you could share a quote, ask a question on your social media etc. You could send that follow-up email to a potential client you keep saying you’ll send.

Keep a list of possible 5-10 minute jobs, then pull it out when you find yourself with a bit of space in your diary and get some stuff done.

  1. Know where your time goes

Sounds obvious, huh? But how often do we actually stop to think about this?

I have THE worst concept of time. Seriously.I think everything takes waaaaay less than it actually does. Once I learned that I need to at least triple the time things take, I’ve found I’m much better at getting things done in the time available. I would really stress myself out by thinking things should be done, but the reality was they were taking so much longer than I had planned. I now use this simple tripling strategy which really keeps me on track.

There will be places where you know your time goes, keep a track of them. Ideally you want to be focusing on money-making strategies in your business first. I love making images on Canva, but does that bring the money in? Well I could argue with you that it helps me be visible, but if I get honest I know that shouldn’t be the first job on my to-do list.

I used to have a sticker on my laptop saying ‘Action Producing Money’. Listening to the latest webinars, reading blog posts, downloading freebies etc. all have their place, but know how much of your time you’re allocating to them and keep checking in as to how these extras help you to meet your business goals.

Maybe you’re aiming to be visible in groups and find yourself constantly on social media, only to find yourself going down the rabbit hole of chatting all day. Allocate yourself a set amount of time to spend in the group, and then stick to your boundaries so that you get other tasks done.

We also have an odd strategy in our house that really works where we set all of our clocks ten minutes fast.  That way we always have a buffer of ten minutes.  Yes, my poor concept of time rubbed off on my hubby/daughter, but with simple strategies you can make things a lot easier, and so much less stressful!

I love this quote – “The bad news is TIME FLIES, the good news is YOU’RE THE PILOT” – Michael Altshuler. 

  1. Manage distractions from other people 

Do you find yourself dropping everything when a quick query comes up, or an email captures your attention? Stop it!!

I remember a poster I used to have on my HR office door which had little characters rolling on the floor laughing, saying, ‘You want it when?’!  Help other people know that their urgency doesn’t have to be yours!  I have to remind myself of this in the reverse sometimes. I can be a bit lastminute.com so think that everyone has time (It goes back to that tripling time thing again).

Think about some of the demands that come up for you in the day. Maybe you’re checking into your Facebook Messenger every 10 minutes, or checking your email and feel compelled to respond. Could you allocate a bit of time in your diary to deal with requests that come up, so that you’re not just dropping everything instantly? By ‘parking’ the request you can get on with the task in hand and if you drop them a quick note to say you’ll get back to them, they won’t think you’re rude 🙂

Are you immediately responding with a ‘yes’, without thinking things through? Start practicing no.  Think about some different responses you could use:

  • “I’d love to but I’m already committed to ….”
  • “That sounds lovely but I’ve committed myself to some biz time while the house is quiet. Another time?”
  • “It’s really kind of you to think of me. I like to give things my 100% and right now my priority is ‘x’ so I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to it and give it the full attention it deserves”

Remember, each time you’re saying yes, you’re saying no to time you could use to be visible. 

So, there you have it – 3 simple strategies to get visible when you’re super busy.

  1. Plan In Some Pomodoro Time
  2. Know where your time goes
  3. Manage distractions from other people

Which one would be a good one to try? Got some other strategies that you use in your business when you’re super busy? Share them with me. I’d love to learn about them.

Your call to action is to choose one of these, or one of your own, and test it out.

3 Ways To Say No To People Who Want To Pick Your Brains For Free

In this blog post, I will share what you can say to people when you’re done with people picking your brains for free.

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As your business grows, so do the requests from people. The problem we can have as service-based business owners, is that we genuinely want to help, and sometimes that can mean we give away waaaaaaay too much of our free time.

At first it might be giving away lots of free sessions of one type or another. Over time, because of your generosity you can become the go-to-person for free support and guidance – as one of my business coach friends would put it – free consultancy.

Now, I personally get this A LOT. This past week alone I’ve had 8 requests for ‘free’ help in one form or another. The thing is, it makes us feel good, doesn’t it? Someone’s thought of little ole you on this area. “Ooh, maybe I do know what I’m talking about. After all, if people are asking for my help, that must mean I know stuff, right?“. It’s fine in the early days, but when it starts to become a problem it gets to the point that you have to set clear boundaries and say enough is enough.

Side Note: If you’re being asked a lot about the same things, you might find it’s a good area for you to focus on in your business. You’re obviously already becoming known for it!

I digress.

Let’s explore 3 ways of how this might be showing up for you and how you can deal with it.

  1. Can you just share a few gems of wisdom with me on… or If I send this over to you, would you just look at it for me.

In some cases, I’ve even had people talking about other coaches they’re working with. Quite clearly that’s not working out so well then, or they’d be asking them and not me!

Here’s what to say:

I’m more than happy to share a couple of gems of wisdom, but if you want to get real gems then let’s talk about how we can work together. You’ll only get a teeny tiny bit of my support by doing it this way. We can get transformational results when we work together 1:1.

On the ”Can you just look at this one” message you could say…

Sure, just send it over. From what you’re telling me, it shouldn’t take too long to work through. I’ll invoice you for an hour of time. If we need more, I’ll let you know before taking it any further. What’s the best email address to send the invoice to?

Don’t do what I’ve done in the past, where I’ve set the boundary at the beginning of the call and then ended up being caught out later down the line! If you have to, write the word ‘Boundaries’ on a post-it note as a reminder not to go back on the boundary you’ve set for yourself. New boundaries take time to establish, we can go back to our old ways without even thinking, so be kind to yourself if you slip up! 

  1. I wonder if you can spare 20 mins or so for a chat with me to talk about ways to… ?

(In my case the common one is to attract clients)

Here’s what to say:

Of course, I’m more than happy to have a chat with you. My fee is £200 per hour for this type of thing. How much time would you like to book with me? Let me know and I’ll send you over some possible dates.

If it’s a coaching client then I’ll say this… “I do have a self-study programme, Discovery Call Magic, that teaches all about how to book/use discovery calls to attract clients (£197). Let me know which option you prefer and I can send you more details 

  1. I wondered if I could pick your brains about something when you have 5 minutes. (Maybe this is from a business colleague, or maybe you’re being asked for ‘mates rates’.)

If it’s someone that could really do with your help, a great way to reply is this:

That’s a great question, pop it in my Rock Your Fabulous Biz Group on Facebook and I’ll reply when I have a spare moment. There’s loads of free support in the group, and often answers can benefit everyone else too, but if you prefer 1:1 let’s book a Pick My Brains Session. It’s 20-minutes for £67 or £97 for a 30-minute session. You can ask me whatever you like. I can guarantee you’ll go away with loads of ideas and a mini-action plan to get you started.

Mates Rates – Just don’t do them! Keep the lines clear between mates and business. Good friends won’t expect it for free. I know. I work with a few friends and because they pay me for my services, it doesn’t get all icky when we’re just out and about being friends. Say something like this:

I like to keep my business completely separate from personal. I don’t do mates rates. I’m happy to book you in for a paid session. I’ve found it works so much better when the lines between friends and business don’t get blurred“.

You’ll still be sharing all of your expertise, and that’s not just since you’ve been in business, that’s all of your life experiences, the trainings you’ve done, the things you’ve learned along the way, the books you’ve read, etc. There is one question to ask yourself on this though….

Is there something in it for you?

I mean this in the best way possible. If it’s a two-way thing, and you’re going to help that person, and they’re going to offer you something in return, i.e. a session, free ticket to an event you’re excited about, a coffee/lunch or whatever you like, then that’s okay. This is about you honouring your worth. I’ve had loads of pick your brains conversations and they haven’t even offered to buy me a coffee! And you know how much I like caffeine!

Maybe they are going to give you a glowing testimonial which is just what you’re looking for to add to your website. Then that’s all good. Usually though, the reply is something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I wasn’t expecting to pay”! A good reply to that is, “Oh, really?”

Enter sarcastic Ruby: “Ummm, yeah, I’m a business owner.”

The Big Sub Message That Makes You Feel ‘Ouch’: I value what you do but not enough to pay you (or even save to pay) to work with you.

Now, I’m not saying don’t help. We all know how that one will work out, we can’t help ourselves. We’re hard-wired to help!

What I am saying is there is a line.

If you’re putting lots of useful content out there, and being of service in lots of different ways, then you don’t need to worry. Send them to that free content and invite them to join your community. You’re still serving, you’re still helping, you’re just not being taken for granted.

For me, I know I have SO much content out there for people. I am constantly sharing heaps of valuable stuff for free, so that way I don’t have to feel guilty about charging. People can either do the work to find what they’re looking for (searching keywords on my blog about a specific area for example) or they can pay me for giving them fantastic mentoring guidance bespoke to them and their business.

Remember: You’re running a business. 

Call to Action: Think about where you’re giving away your time, and get some wording/systems in place to support the people who want your guidance for free.

3 Top Fear Busting Strategies

In this blog post, I’m going to share how fear can be an energy drainer and 3 top fear busting strategies to help you in your business.

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When I first started learning about coaching, I came across an ‘Energy Drainers’ exercise, where you had to write down all the things that were draining your energy, so it might be business related, like a job that you’re procrastinating on, or personal like a dripping tap for example.

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What I’ve learned over time is that fear can also drain your energy – BIG time. I’m always banging on about how you should work on your mindset to help you overcome any blocks in being visible, and it’s true.

Mindset is a MASSIVE part of being successful. If you’ve got things that are standing in your way and holding you back then you need to kick them to the kerb.

It sounds so simple but it’s not always that easy. It may be that like me, you’re an introvert, so showing up can sometimes feel like hard work. I can be super visible for a while, working through any fears that show up and then I need to retreat for a bit to recover some of my energy. Perhaps you have imposter syndrome, where you think that you’re not as good as you actually are, and are going to be ‘found out’ one day. You will be, you’ll be found out to be the fabulous business owner that you are!

I’ve been doing lots of research lately with potential ideal clients to find out what really holds them back in business, and the number 1 thing is fear. They are afraid.

Afraid of not being good enough.

Afraid of being ‘found out’ as a fraud (despite being incredible at what they do!)

Afraid of being criticised if they do share content.

Afraid of being compared to others.

Afraid they don’t have enough experience, or enough to say, or the right things to say.

So much fear.

Fear doesn’t have to run the show. You get to choose what you do with it.

Here’s 3 ways that you can bust your fears:

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  1. Take action 

This is the fastest way to smash through your fears. Brave action ideally, but any action is a step in the right direction. Set an intention of what you’re going to do, declare it to someone else (personally I think this REALLY helps) – when you know someone is going to hold you accountable and take no excuses off you, then it’s way more likely that you’ll take action. Go out there and do it.

In the film, We Bought A Zoo, Matt Damon says to his son, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”

How could you show insane courage for just 20 seconds?

  1. Sit with your fear

I know! I never thought that phrase would come out of my mouth either! I know for me, anything about feelings is a bit uncomfortable. If there’s a way I can logically work out a problem, that would totally be my go-to plan rather than sit and ‘feel’ into it, but actually it’s a great thing to learn how to do. Yes, my lovely mentors, I have been listening!

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Feelings are there for a reason, they’re a guide to help us move forward.  What are you really scared of? If you dig deep, you’ll realise it isn’t always what you think.

Instead of stressing about why it’s coming up, or getting yourself tied up in knots like a pretzel, be a witness of your fear. Say to yourself, “Isn’t it interesting that I feel fearful about xxx, I wonder what is it about xxx that’s making me feel fearful.” Notice what comes up when you do this exercise. You could journal the ideas to get even more clarity.

I’m sure you’ll have heard of the acronym of FEAR being used as False Evidence Appearing Real. We might be basing our fears around previous ‘evidence’ of what’s happened, but how do we even know that it will play out in the same way. What if circumstances have changed since the last time? What if we have changed? Start to gather evidence of things that have gone really well when you’ve ‘put yourself out there’, record those things that you’ve conquered over time.

  1. Focus on the here and now

I was talking in my Fearless Visibility Diva group just last week about being in the here and now. I think it was Danielle Laporte that said if we could just focus on the here and now then there is no need for fear because you’re not in the past or the future so there is literally nothing to fear. How can you stay focused in the moment?

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Maybe you’re just about to post a message in a group, and your fear is rearing its ugly head, shouting to you that it won’t be good enough, that what you want to say is silly. What if instead of running that story you create a whole new one, where you visualise yourself being successful? Step into the confident version of you that creates amazing posts and is a real inspiration to others.

Don’t let fear stop you in business. Pushing through comfort zones is all part of being a business owner. Find ways to move through fear so that it doesn’t cost you missed opportunities/business.

If you want some support come and join my fabulous 6-week programme, Fearless Visibility Diva. Learn how to feel more confident being visible with strategies and tools to work on your fear, worry, self-doubt, while taking action on your business. Find out more here.. www.bit.ly/FearlessVisDiva.

Call to Action: Your call to action this week is to choose one of the three tips and make it work for you – Take action, sit with your fear or focus on the here and now. Which one will you choose? Let me know how it works out for you 🙂

Do You Wish You Could Shortcut Your Business Journey?

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about shortcuts, and what really needs to be done to build a successful business.

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A year or so into my business I can remember talking with another business owner about how long it can take to really get a business established. They told me they thought that 3 years was a good benchmark. I didn’t say anything, but I was horrified. I didn’t want to wait 3 years to see a return on my time. Wait a moment, THREE YEARS. Are you kidding me?! That was not happening in my world!

5Well the reality was, it did take that long. I had clients over the first couple of years of course, but it took time to really get the business up and running, to get away from that feast and famine cycle. It took time to learn what I needed to learn, to get really clear on where I wanted to be, what I stood for and how I could help.

It takes time to grow as a person, to develop your mindset and set systems in place that will make your business easier. It can take that time to know that you don’t have to do it all on your own – I knew that on a logical level, but I felt that I needed to be in control, I could only release little elements of my business out for people to help me.

I didn’t want to get outside help, I thought I could do it all on my own.

The trouble is, we all want shortcuts, but they don’t always work in business. It’s almost a rite of passage that you go through those growing pains and you learn what you need to learn along the way.

I see so many people trying to find the latest secret to running their businesses, and there isn’t really a secret. Yes, there are shortcuts that can speed up the process, and that’s where the support from coaches and mentors come in, but this overnight success thing that everyone’s raving about – personally I don’t think it exists, it’s all an illusion.

There are lots of things that you can and should do, and then there are things that will be the key to unlocking your specific business – things that work specifically for you and bring the clients.

I know I wanted to do this whole business thing super fast – I’m not afraid of hard work you see. I’m more afraid of failure. I had a ‘Let’s get this off the ground and create this freedom lifestyle everyone’s raving about – how naïve was I?!

I was asked just the other day what helped me to build my business, and while I’ve written an article for this for someone else, so I won’t go into the details, I will share the top 3 things with you here;4

  1. Getting super duper clear on your ideal client and niche, and then owning it
  2. Building relationships and not being frightened to ask people to take that next step with you
  1. Working on your mindset blocks

These were the biggest things that worked for me, and then consistently showing up – being visible.

Showing up when I wasn’t in the mood.

Showing up when the fears kicked in.

Showing up when I wasn’t seeing much return on investment for my time or money.

Showing up tirelessly day in, day out, and that’s what’s really paid off.

Being visible in my business has been a key part of my business growing, and it can be for you too.

Being visible on its own though isn’t enough, you need to make sure that you’re visible with the right message, to the right people in the right places, and then work on how you’ll convert those people into paying clients.

Consistently showing up pays dividends. Yes, it’s a long-term game, but it’s SO worth the effort. When your hard work starts paying off It’s the best feeling in the world.

We all know any goal worth pursuing has had effort put into it. Take the Olympics for example, athletes didn’t become athletes overnight, they practised and practised, perfecting their skill, focused on improving their mindset and improving their game. It’s the same in business, develop your skills, develop your business knowledge and don’t be afraid to keep showing up.

If your business isn’t working right now or you’re worrying that you’re not as far ahead as you want to be, then get the help you need from a coach or mentor. Do whatever it takes to help you move forward.

I know each time I’ve worked with someone to help me uplevel my business I’ve noticed the direct correlation to the results that I get. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know and you need to work with someone that has been in your shoes. Even if it’s just working with an accountability partner, to keep your spirits high, and have someone to share your journey with.

Your business will grow, if you’re willing to put the work in, be disciplined, committed and focused. Successful business owners didn’t become successful by finding a magic ingredient.

6They became successful through hard work and consistency, and a huge dose of resilience. Oh yeah, and a sense of humour – that really comes in handy when it’s not always working out so well!

Let go of the need for your business to be perfect.

Let go of your need for everything to happen exactly how and when you want it to happen.

Let go of the need to control every single detail.

You have all the time you need. Running your own business isn’t a race, it’s about finding your way, learning what you can and enjoying the journey. You will grow as a person, as much as a business owner.

Call to action: Write down your progress in your business so far, no matter where you’re at on your journey, and celebrate that progress. Then think about the four key areas I mentioned: Clarity on your ideal client, building relationships, working on your mindset and consistency – Which one could you focus on this week/this month?

Is Indecision Killing Your Business?

Choice can really stop us in being visible. In this blog post, I’m going to share a strategy to help you overcome your indecision.

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Choice is an amazing thing, we can order twenty different types of coffee when we go out, we can have pay as you go mobiles, or monthly contracts, we can have Webinar Jam or Google Hangout, or Fuze and Zoom to run our businesses online, but sometimes it’s just all too overwhelming.

When it comes to being visible, choices can give us yet another reason to take no action.

Do we need this camera or that camera for our video? Should we focus on Twitter or Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn? What about local networking meetings? Aaargh – so much to do, so little time and we’re just making it harder on ourselves by wanting to do everything and ending up doing nothing.

So what do you do? There IS amazing stuff out there, but as a business owner, we have SO many hats – marketing person, branding person, sales person, blog post writer, newsletter writer and soooo much more.

Well with regards to where to hang out on social media to attract your ideal clients, that’s quite simple. Go where your ideal clients are. I know that sounds super easy, but seriously if you don’t know who they are and where they hang out make it your goal to find out.

Focus on one place at a time too, that way you can test if your strategy is working. If it’s not you can try something different. It’s much easier to limit your choices when you have some kind of way to measure the outcomes. Test, test and test some more.

If you’re finding it difficult to limit yourself to just one thing then choose a list of 2-3 choices, and then you can pick from that list.

Choose One Area of Viz #Focus

It’s the same with our clients. We can offer way too many choices of packages and ways to work with us that it becomes overwhelming. I know I’m super guilty of this one and have to keep checking in with myself on it. I’m always looking at ways to streamline what I offer so that it doesn’t become confusing. (I’m a work in progress on that one).

When working with a client, instead of offering four ways to work with them offer 2 ways, 3 max. That way you aren’t creating overwhelm for them in the decision-making process and they then end up not working with you because they are confused as to what it is you actually do.

Figure out how you can measure the choices that you have in front of you. Perhaps one has a direct or indirect cost element to it in terms of time, energy or money for example.

The thing that I’ve learned recently is that having just ONE single thing to focus on at any one time is so much easier to manage than having twenty things. It makes sense, but we have to take the steps to get there, to eliminate so much choice and make a decision.

One thing that we work on in my Rock Your Visibility Bootcamp is figuring out what your business model is. If you’ve not done any work on business models then basically it covers 9 specific areas of business – including things like who your customers are, what you’re going to offer, what your key activities in your business will be etc. etc.Be Clear On Biz Direction #Vision

It’s much easier to make a decision when you are clear on the direction your business is going in. Some opportunities that come your way will take you nearer to where you want to be, and some will take you further away, down an unknown path or worse a rabbit hole! When you know your business model, it’s really easy to make informed decisions. You simply check in and ask yourself whether this particular piece of content/work/opportunity fits your business model. If it doesn’t, move on. If it does, go for it!

I used to be a terrible decision maker. I can still have my moments of indecision but with my business model in place, it’s much easier to keep my focus now. That and I have a fantastic group of business friends who help me figure things out.

One strategy I love that I learnt in my Coaching diploma was the IDA Formula – you can use it to help you whenever the self-doubt or uncertainty creeps in.

INTENTION – DECISION – ACTION

So let’s break it down,

INTENTION

What do you intend to happen?  What do you want to happen? Here’s an example;

  • ‘I want to get new clients’
DECISION

Once you’ve written down your answer decide how you will change your behaviour

  • Should I keep these current clients or is it time to work with a different group of people? ‘I know I keep telling myself to stay where I am but I’m not happy and just keep moaning about it, so I will stop telling myself that it’s paying the bills and go out and start to build my business that suits me’ (Great strategy by the way as there may be someone that is desperate for your current clients – give someone the opportunity to try it and you move on!)

ACTION

Now change your behaviour by acting differently

  • ‘I will sit down with pen and paper and think about what I do want to do and then start a marketing plan for attracting new clients

What happens if you make the wrong decision?  So what?!!  As some of my  clients will tell you one of my sayings is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’  Keep asking yourself that question and you will realise that sometimes the hardest part is making the decision to make a decision!!

The more you make decisions, whether it’s just a choice of coffee when you’re out, or what webinar software to buy, the more you will kick your indecision into touch!

Call to action this week: Check your to do list for one thing you need to make a decision on and make that decision! Job done!

I’d love you to share what decisions you’re faced with / making.

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