Archive for October, 2009

"Your vocation is where your passion meets the world's great hunger." –Frederick Buechner

The things that are unique to you, the things that are your natural talents -   there is a demand for that somewhere in the world.     Some people right now are thinking, "Okay. But I thought I was doing what I love. And I thought I was doing what's unique for me. So why don't I have a flood of clients?"

Okay, here is why. Sometimes what we're offering is not the thing that is our true value.   Your true value is the thing that comes so easily to you that you can't remember learning it and it's probably the thing that you would do even if you weren't being paid to do it. That's your true value.

The trouble is most of us don't realize the value of our natural talents. We undervalue the things that come easily to us. We assume if it comes easily to us, nobody else needs it, and nobody else will want it.

Let me give you an example. I am what you would call, administratively challenged. I used to have mounds of paperwork lying in piles on my desk. My friend Veronica called around to me some time ago, (before I had assistants to help me with those kind of things). In no time at all she had totally whipped my office into shape.

I looked at her in wonder and admiration and gratitude, I had tears in my eyes. What she was doing was making such a difference to me. It wasn't easy for me. If it was easy I would have done it. I mean, I know it's not rocket science but it wasn't easy for me.

She looked at me embarrassed. She couldn't believe the gratitude I had for what she had done for me. What Veronica did is what we all do to some extent. The things that come easily for us, the things that come so natural for us, those are our natural talents.

Our natural talents are where we have the most value to offer the world, but we undervalue it. This is where we all get messed up.

We abandon the things that are natural for us. We abandon our true talents and try to follow someone else. I want to reconnect you with the thing that only you can do. There's something that you were born to do that no one else in the world can offer. Something that beautifully, elegantly, and uniquely combines all of your unique skills and talents in a way that contributes to and services the world.

So what do you do? You need to figure out how to align that beautiful natural talent with the people in the world that need it.

I know this isn't easy to do on your own. Think of things you've done just because you knew how to do it, something you know how to do easily. Maybe it's something that others have asked you to do because you are known for it. Because you are better at it than everyone around you.

Your natural talents don't need to be complicated. Maybe it's something simple like talking on the phone, or meeting with clients, or writing emails, or filing paperwork. Whatever your specific talents might be, they come easily to you. Your true value is valuable, because they don't come easily to everyone.

Marketing your own business can really feel like an uphill struggle sometimes, can't it?

Some marketing campaigns produce okay results, but at times you probably feel like you're doing a lot of hard work to get that result. But there are also those marketing campaigns that just take flight. Where you feel, "Oh my goodness, there's some big energy going on here and all I really need to do is steer and hold on as best I can."

That's the kind of marketing campaign and feeling I want to help you achieve.

Firstly, you need to know exactly what your market really wants. That, to me, is the foundation of successful marketing: understanding what your potential clients really want at a logical level and an emotional level.

Knowing what your market wants is the foundation. But just like a house that is up for sale, that strong foundation needs personal and finishing touches to set it apart from other houses, and make it appealing and attractive to prospective buyers.

One of the first things you need to focus on when it comes to marketing your business is really emotionally engaging your audience. In order for your audience to be emotionally engaged with your business, they need to be emotionally engaged with you. There has to be a certain degree of personal revelation.

Now, this is something that you may find difficult. Often, business owners have this rule, this mindset that, "This is business and this is personal and never the twain shall meet."

But, and I've shared this many times before, one of the best ways to create likeability in your marketing is to reveal things about yourself. Especially things that you may consider weaknesses or things that you've had problems with in the past.

Dan Kennedy, the marketing consultant, is a real proponent of personal revelation. Whenever he works with someone's business, one of the main marketing tools he uses is to try to create a business around a character.

Here's an example…

Let's say there is a company called "ABC Carpet Cleaners." How about changing the name to "Ted Harris Carpet Cleaners".   Then featuring Ted in the marketing of the business, telling the story of Ted and his two sons and why Ted is in business.

The idea is to build Ted's story, taking a commodity business - carpet cleaning, and turning it into something different, something extra. It's about connecting with your prospects at an emotional level.

So think about how this could apply to your business.   Are you leaving out what it is about your business that makes it special? Are you telling your story? Can customers put a face to your business? (a simple photo on your web site or business literature is a quick fix for that).

Set aside some time to really analyze how you have been marketing your business. Are you making your business personal?

If not, it's time to make some changes.   Helping your prospects connect with you on an emotional level will make your marketing take flight and your business soar.   Try It!

Are you familiar with the song, "Too Much Time on My Hands"? If you are a solo professional, running your own business, that song probably makes you laugh.

For you, there is no such thing as too much time. Because your time is actually the commodity you are selling. And there are a few problems with that.

1. As long as you're selling your time, you're basically manual labor. There are only so many hours in a day. Once they're gone, you can't create any more.
2. This makes you vulnerable. If a client cancels, and you don't have a cancellation policy in place, that means lost revenue for you. The hours that you'd booked for that client are now wasted time – time when you are not earning any income.
3. If your business model is based on trading your time for money, it requires you to be constantly working to meet your target.
4. If you're constantly working on trading time for money, you are going to get tired. And when you become tired and uninspired, your clients start to lose out because the passion goes out of your selling.

You started your business because you really love doing it. If it's now become a chore, and you feel as if you are on a treadmill, you need to change your business model.

1. Look for ways to leverage your time. Get paid for your expertise rather than your time. Find a way to help people that doesn't require your physical presence to do the work with them all the time.
2. Recognize that you are trading your time for money, but don't make a snap decision to create quick income streams. Be careful about rushing out and creating an e-book to see if that brings in any money.   Instead, plan out your strategy – there are quick ways you can bring in cash but you need to have a strategy that works.
3. Productize. Package your expertise in the form of products or programs. Your first reaction might be that this can't be done in your business. That's what I thought too, working as a sales trainer. I saw that the results I helped people achieve were based on their interaction with me. They talked to me about the challenges they were facing and I helped them by offering solutions. I couldn't conceive of any way in which I could put this in a box and productize it.     The fact is, I found out that there were lots of ways that I could actually serve clients better, rather than just working with them individually all the time.
4. In order to really benefit from making the switch to a better business model, you need to reconsider your whole strategy. You can't do it just by bolting on one product at a time.

If you're serious about moving to a business model that will generate more income through products and programs versus selling your time, then you need to look at your business in its entirety.

The products that you offer will have an impact on the demand for your time as an individual. And they are going to be compared with how much you charge for your time as an individual.

So when you look at the big picture, you'll see that bolting on a £37 e-book really isn't going to be enough. Because if you're charging £500 a day or even £1,500 a day, you're going to have to sell a lot of e-books to make up for that one day's pay.

This type of approach won't give you the momentum you need to really make a difference. So don't do this piecemeal. Don't do it as a sideline.

Think about your whole business. You need to think about a whole suite of products and programs, logically thought out at different price points, that work together to bring you an income that you desire.

If you approach this productizing in the right way, you will be more committed to getting this side of your business off the ground. And you will no longer be stuck in a vicious cycle of trading your time for money.

By analyzing your business model as a whole, you can work fewer hours and triple your income.

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