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This past weekend I was in Portland for Pioneer Nation. I flirted with writing a long in-depth recap of the event but I was having trouble putting it into words. Long story short:
It was AWESOME.
It was one of my first major speaking events and I think it went well. More than that, though. I got to connect and meet with so many people IRL which was amazing after spending the majority of my time in front of my computer writing while watching Pacific Rim.
A photo of me on stage taken by the amazing photographers and friends, Armosa Studios.
Something came up over the weekend that came up again today in my POC group so I knew I had to talk about it.
A lot of people asked me what’s next for me and my response is always the same: “HELL IF I KNOW. I am not the boss.”
This is what I mean:
One day you decide to do a thing. An offer. A live event. A book. You think it is going to be THE THING. Oprah is going to call. Speaking events galore. Cash money. It’s gonna open so many doors and you will FINALLY be done. Your work of art will be complete.
We have all gone through this one time or another. There was a time in my business that I could not imagine doing ANYTHING but copywriting and then a time when I thought I would run HBA forever till the end of time.
But it NEVER works that way.
I know you have a vision. A goal in mind.
Your business is not a statue. It’s a f-ing dragon.
A living, breathing thing that can not be controlled by what you want.
The dragon doesn’t give a flying flip about your plans, ambitions and hopes and dreams. The dragon knows what you NEED, not what you want.
There will be a time in your business when you want to go in one direction and STAY that direction but your dragon business decides to take a detour. A HUGE detour.
There will be a time when your dragon decides that something just doesn’t feel right anymore and you’ll try to fight it BUT THE DRAGON CAN NOT BE TAMED.
You know those crazy stories you hear about the beginnings of businesses? How a CEO was trying to create something TOTALLY different and ended up with something much more awesome?
That happen when you let the dragon do his/her DRAGON THING.
So, what is the point?
Appreciate and honor what you are working on but BE PRESENT. Plan but be OPEN.
And if you feel yourself having to start all over, kill what you are working on and any other annoying dragon things, just go with it.
Any efforts to try to tame your dragon and course correct to the vision you had in your mind will just result in heartache, frustration and ultimately unhappiness.
If I would have stayed the course and tried my HARDEST to be in an advertising firm (which is what I thought I wanted all along), who KNOWS where I would be now. Most likely, still at my parent’s house.
Moral of the story:
Go with the flow. Let the business dragon do the damn thing.
During the event I told my story and taught a workshop about getting your customers to spend more.
It features the AWESOME NEW BRANDING COMING SOON and you can check that out here:
You can also check out my 3 slide mainstage presentation here:
FINALLY. A NEW EPISODE.
In this week’s episode:
- I reveal what I’ve been working on over the last few weeks
- How to be patient with yourself during the business building process
- How I get all my shiz done
- TAGLINES — how to make them awesome
Check it out here:
Spread the word:
Tweet it! I’m checking out episode 3 of the All Caps Excited podcast and you should too. It’s awesome, yo. http://heyshenee.com/a-c-e-episode-3/
So, 2 things happened.
First thing: I am not only revamping my brand right now but also my copy. Let me just pause and say that I struggle the same way YOU struggle when it comes to copy. Especially the homepage. How to explain everything I do in such a small space? Here is one of the lines I wrote that stopped me in my tracks:
I help you get paid to do what you love.
I stared at it for a long time and realized that isn’t 100% true. My thoughts have changed so I changed it to this:
I help you do exactly what you want… and get paid for it.
Now, that’s TRUE.
Second thing: I had just spent 3 days watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a transmedia experience that was engaging, well-written and SO MUCH FUN. And so good. I woke up this morning and stared at the still frame after the last episode and honest to goodness, wanted to cry.
Why? Because it’s something I love. Something I want to do and have wanted to do my WHOLE LIFE. I have a computer at home with scripts, I have diaries full of imaginary stories.
So, if you’ve been around for a while, you know I am honest-to-goodness here not because of an escape (I was too young to have one, fresh out of college) but out of DESIGN.
There was nowhere for me to be happy in the world as it was presented to me.
This is an important detail. For me, my business is about love (I really enjoy my work and I am really great at it) but it’s not JUST about love for me. It’s about experience.
It’s about lifestyle.
How did I want to live?
Technically, I could have gone the writer route. I could have gotten a full-time job and gone to writing groups at night and on the weekends. I could have stayed at my parent’s house an extra few years and kept working at it with the hopes I would get a chance to do what I love to do. Write stuff and get paid for it. I could have become a teacher or an assistant and worked up the ladder.
But that isn’t the lifestyle want. And I can still write without going the path that most people go when they decide to make a living being a creative writer.
Honestly, I do believe that you can get paid to do what you love. There are COUNTLESS examples out there but how long are you willing to wait for it? And who is to say there isn’t something else you don’t LOVE?
I want to live in my sweet spot, create a world where I can do work that feels good for me while also helping people live the life they want.
Asking quality questions like:
- Do I want to have appointments everyday?
- Is it really necessary to work on Mondays?
- How do I work best?
- How often am I creating space for thing I love?
- How do I work best with my clients?
- What do I absolutely not want to do work on?
- What boundaries do I have?
- What does success look like?
Creates my world:
- Not having appointments everyday
- Not working most Mondays
- Not wearing my bra on a lot of days. No pants either
- Writing. A lot. Most days.
- Working with groups
- No copywriting
- No designing
- Being in charge of my time
- Making good money
And that is what I want my business to be about. Helping you live the LIFE you want. Not do what you love.
I am lucky in that I have so much love and ease for the work I do but that isn’t something I stumbled on, I worked on that shiz.
I have spent years doing every type of service imaginable and I’ve realized that love with work (just like love in real life) is COMPLICATED, hard to identify and if you wait around for it, paralyzing.
For me, love for what I do came with looking at what I wanted and forming my business around that instead of forcing it the other way around.
Doing what I do now FEELS GOOD, while also helping me get a great apartment, lots of Amazon Instant rentals and summer rolls when I want them. And that makes me happy.
It’s like this story I know about a friend who realized she hated designing sites and was going to quit design all together because she figured she wasn’t actually passionate about it. At the time, I was like YEAH GIRL QUIT THAT SHIZ (because that is what I did). Soon enough, though, she realized that she did have a passion for design but not all of it. She wanted to do logos. All the time. Now, that is what she is known for and gets paid lots o’ money to do it.
Eventually, I will write. I’ll write something awesome. In fact, I’ve already taken the first steps by creating a personal blog (yay it’s here) but I am also enjoying living the life I want and doing what I want.
It’s so common for people to NOT like their businesses, even though the invest so much money and love into it. It’s common for folks to feel confused and overwhelmed about it and I think this is the key:
Figure out how you want to live FIRST and then start to work on everything else.
Like what you’ve read? Spread the word, yo!
Tweet it! I believe that you can get paid to do what you love, but how long are you willing to wait? @heyshenee http://heyshenee.com/do-what-you-want/
Tweet it! Figure out how you want to live FIRST and then start to work on everything else. @heyshenee http://heyshenee.com/do-what-you-want/
I am really hardcore about money karma.
I am not woo woo about anything but money. I have way too many stories that prove that money energy is a 100% real thing.
Example 1: I had a conversation with someone about my latest offering, Piece O’ Cake and when I told her the price she gasped and told me that it was just WAY too expensive and high and she would NEVER do that.
Five minutes later she complained about her laundry list of problems with her clients which including haggling, lowballing on prices and bailing on invoices all together.
A coincidence? I don’t think so.
If you have been planning a price increase or a shift to more premium offerings, (or you are wanting to just get paid in general) you should really make sure your money mindset is in check or you are gonna get an upper limit sinus infection (or maybe that’s me).
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to BUY anything but it’s good practice to change your language and your behavior around money, ESPECIALLY this is something you have drama with for yourself.
1. Ban the word expensive from your language.
This takes practice. I had to deal with this just yesterday. I was upset about the fact that I finished all of the Archer episodes on Netflix and didn’t want to pay. I caught myself saying “but the season is so expensive” and changed it to “It’s not something I want bad enough right now”
Am I still being cheap? Sure but I am honoring it’s worth and deciding not to do it because I don’t want to.
I HATE when people say they can’t afford things. It’s my biggest pet peeve. I once talked to a woman who sold her couch so she could go to a conference. In most cases, we just don’t want it bad enough.
2. Pay for the things you like
For me, it started simple. If I really like an album and listen to it over and over on Spotify, I buy it. If I like a blogger and they have something to sell, I buy it.
Treat yo self. It makes a HUGE difference. It feels different, you feel different and your capacity for investing grows which means that your mindset around how other people spend will change too.
You are way less likely to haggle on prices with someone when you are in the habit of paying full price on the things you want.
3. Never decrease your prices
This is a BIG one for me. If you decide you want to charge a specific price for something, DO NOT go down. It sends the message that you are a little iffy about your own value and subconsciously (even if it’s not clear for them), your clients value what you do less too.
It just also proves that if they wait long enough, the price will go down to where you want.
This is something we don’t want.
4. Make an investment that is in alignment with the money you want to make
I just invested in working with someone on my rebrand and whoah did I get sick over the investment. It felt HUGE. More than I’ve ever spent before. But at the same time, I know that my brand is ready to take that next step and by this time next year, I want this type of investment to just feel comfortable for me.
The investment itself (AND OMG GUYS WAIT TILL YOU SEE IT) has also changed my life in a bunch of different ways. It forced me to look at some of my friendships, some of the ways I was getting in my own way and how I was getting stuck in the mindset of other people. It also forced me to look at my business and how I can show up for this new design.
5. Know your numbers
GIRL (or cool guy) I have made SO many assumptions about my financial situation without actually knowing the facts and this is the most dangerous thing you can do. More often than not, you are in a better position but since you don’t actually KNOW how much money you have, you assume the worst. Denise DT always talks about tracking every bit of money that comes to you and I believe in that too. P.S — Check out her book if you haven’t, it’s awesome.
So, what do you think about your relationship with money? Any of these things stand out to you? Let me know!
Tee-shirts. Specifically, white tee-shirts. V-neck white tee-shirts.
Technically you can get nice white soft tee-shirts in a pack of 3 or 4 at Walmart for about $9.00. These tee-shirts aren’t anything fancy but will get the job done. They are cotton, cozy and tag-less (just ask Michael Jordan) and from a trusted brand (Hanes) that you can find not only at Walmart but at Kmart, Kohl’s and other bargain department stores.
Gap sells white tee-shirts for $20. Cotton. Maybe a little softer but still a white tee-shirt. These tee-shirts are not just shirts, though. It’s branded as your FAVORITE shirt.
Just think about that for a moment. $20 for a shirt that isn’t just gonna be your shirt but your FAVORITE shirt? The one you go to over and over again. The one that goes with everything. You can style it the way you want. Put it with a blazer, a chunky necklace….
$20 doesn’t seem so bad if you are going to get all that, right?
There are lots of stories like this. Something simple you can get anywhere being made SPECIAL because of the story.
When I went to LA, I went on the TMZ tour (don’t judge) and we drove past Bjan which is the most expensive store on Rodeo Drive. That is what it’s known for. You have to pay hundreds of dollars JUST to get a consultation. Now, I am sure that place sells some really nice pants but it’s not just the pants those people are buying. It’s the story that goes with it. What does it MEAN to be someone who buys those types of pants? What does that say about you?
And this is why branding is so important to business. Branding helps set your price point.
People pay a premium for story.
If you give them 2 things that are identical, they will pay more for the thing that makes them FEEL something.
The services and offerings you sell are not just judged by how awesome the offer is but what story they are deciding to have by buying it.
A website that is premium priced isn’t just a website but a call to play a bigger game
A pair of hoops aren’t just a pair of earrings but a switch to turn on the sexy
Fresh copy isn’t just copy but a statement to the universe of “yes, I am ready”
If you ever look at an offer and scoff at it’s price, most likely it’s because that offer isn’t FOR you. It’s not a story you are ready to buy into yet but the right person will.
So, what story are you telling that will make people want to buy?
Like it? Share it!
Tweet it! Think your story doesn’t matter? THINK AGAIN! How branding influences your price point by @heyshenee http://eepurl.com/Oemkr
Tweet it! People pay for a premium story. How branding influences your price point by @heyshenee http://eepurl.com/Oemkr
Tweet it! And THIS is why branding is so important to your business… (via @heyshenee) http://eepurl.com/Oemkr
Where will your business be in 6 months?
Where will it be?
Most likely you’ve written a bunch of goals, scribbled a bunch of intentions and picked a “word” for the year.
You’ve got PLANS for launches, programs…new products…
Big things poppin’, little things stoppin.
But if you are being super honest with yourself, this isn’t the first time you’ve had big plans for your business.
In fact, you do this a lot. You start. You get excited and then somewhere along the way, you stop.
And the big things poppin’ becomes a series of excuses about why _____ can’t happen, why _____ didn’t work or why _______ was just too overwhelming to think about.
Your desktop becomes a boneyard for unused products, unfinished products/ebooks and ideas (and files) that just never happen.
We are in 2014 and even though January is over, it’s time to really ask yourself something really important.
One month of 2014 is already over (I know, it’s crazy) and I think it’s time to talk about something really, really important.
When the hell is this sh*t gonna stop?
When are you actually going to get out of this constant circle of sameness?
When are you going to stop struggling with the same things?
Doing the same things? Complaining about the same things?
How about right now?
I know people say this a lot. People are always telling you (and you most likely tell yourself this a lot too), THIS WILL BE THE YEAR.
But for serious, can this be the YEAR?
So how do we make this the year?
Something has to change.
Most likely, it’s internal.
It might be:
Getting out of your own f-ing way and taking that first step.
Start getting right with how you see money in your life so you can ACTUALLY make some.
Learning how to get the RIGHT type of help for you and not just taking every piece of advice and tactic you hear.
Saying YES to things you don’t think you are quite ready for.
Can I let you in on a little secret? People always ask me how I was able to evolve so quickly and grow my business like I have been able to. How do I evolve and change and grow the way I do?
It’s because I hate getting stuck in the trap of “the same.” The same feelings. The same complaints.
So I make the changes I’ve gotta make:
I hire the assistant
I take down the services that don’t work
I put the services back up that work better
I kill the product, I make another one.
I buy the book.
I watch the video.
Here is the deal. The time? It’s going to go by anyway. Time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stall. And it’s not gonna wait for you to decide that you are ready for something different.
And in 6 months (or even a year from now) don’t you want to say that you made the changes you needed to make to actually GET WHAT YOU WANTED instead of just constantly complaining about it?
This is my battle cry for you, my friend.
Make this year the best ever.
Where is your business going to be in 6 months and what do you need to change RIGHT NOW to make that happen?
If you’d like to spend the next 6 months with me on your business making lasting change, check this out.
I don’t have cable but my favorite thing to watch when I DO have access to it is Say Yes to The Dress. Have you heard of it? The set up: women come to a wedding shop and try on dresses for their big day.
Now I have to admit that my favorite part of this process has ALWAYS been when they reveal the stories of how the bride met their partners. That is what I like the best.
The dress? That’s cool too but I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the idea of the PERFECT dress.
Now, let me start off by saying that I am not married. I’ve never been married. Ryan Gosling and I want to take some time for our careers before we go that route, ya know. BUT! I have some feelings about it.
The other day I watched an episode and the bride had tried on over 100 dresses. She said she was looking for the PERFECT dress. She nitpicked. She complained. She cried.
She considered calling it all off.
As Charlie Brown once said, Good Grief.
You got your man (or woman) and you’ve got this WHOLE LIFE to look forward to full of moments. You are getting MARRIED, for goodness sakes.
In the grand scheme of things, a dress doesn’t matter that much, no?
This happens a lot in business too. I have talked to hundreds of women on the phone and I think that the sentence I hear most goes a little like this:
“I want it to be good.”
“I want it to be perfect.”
Every launch. Every website. Every program….
It’s just the beginning.
And if you try to make every moment PERFECT, you end up missing the whole point of it all.
The joy of life is in the EXPERIENCE.
Life happens when you LET it happen.
So, you know that thing you’ve been working on? Planning? Considering? Thinking about?
Just let it go.
Pick a “dress” that looks comfortable and feels good for you.
It doesn’t HAVE to be perfect.
Because it’s not the END. Every new thing is a new start and in order to start, you have to start somewhere, right?
This month marks the 2 year anniversary of my first sold out launch, the beta run of Hot Brand Action. As some of you might know, I launched that class on a tiny list (way less than 200) and no experience launching classes whatsoever. But I did it and it worked. And the rest is history.
So in honor that, I’ve decided to give you a little step-by-step plan for selling out your thing.
1. Create something that people NEED
2. Make sure you have a community who is ready to buy that thing you need
3. Prove to that community that they need to buy it. Now. Not later.
Rinse and repeat. In my case, rinse and repeat a LOT.
A lot of marketers focus on step 3, or more specifically the “need to buy it” part but the most important part of this step-by-step process happens in the middle.
The purpose of a launch is simple, right? Get your THING in front of as many people as you can, give them a little taste and hope they buy.
But what if you didn’t have to do the first part?
How would launching feel if you knew that your job was just to invite people to your party who ALREADY want to go?
It would make things WAY easier, right?
SO MUCH EASIER.
So, here is a shortcut for making sure your next big thing actually sells.
Focus on making sure your people (your community) is happy and READY.
What does that mean? Some examples:
Being awesome all the time, not just during launch time
Providing value ALL the time, not just when you want them to buy something
Making sure that what you are creating is a PART of the story of your customer (because if not, what IS THE POINT?)
Community was a big reason why I was able to sell out that first class. I didn’t need 2000+ people. I just needed 15. And I got those 15 people.
You can hustle. Oh yeah, you can hustle. Hustling helped me fill those spots too.
But for this year, I would spend less time in ALWAYS selling mode and take some time to lay the groundwork for successful launches.
And that starts with the people you are creating for.
This Jump Blog Tour is hosted by Stephanie Hall and Ashley Wilhite, the co-creators of Jump: Into your business, your life, your dream, a must-have digital guide for new coaches & creatives. They believe in the transformational power of taking the jump and creating a business you love. This all-inclusive eBook will teach you how to start a business, find your niche, brand like a pro, and make the jump with confidence. Find out more here.
As you’ve probably noticed, there might be a lot of people doing the same thing you want to do.
I know, it sucks right? Why won’t everyone just go away, yo?
And at some point you might have gotten frustrated and ended up with that unpleasant thought that most aspiring business owners have at some point:
How the heck am I gonna stand out? Why should someone pick me?
I get it. I’ve totally had one of those moments where I felt like giving it all up and becoming a professional netflix watcher and ice cream eater but I am going to let you in on a liiiitttle secret.
There is enough out there for all of us and IN FACT (and this is where things get really good) there are people out there that will prefer YOU and YOUR awesomeness to some of the other people out there.
But they’ll never know it if you try to be someone else or try to do what everyone else is doing.
“You can go your own way!” — sung horribly off-tune.
But how do YOU go on your own way?
You gotta get creative.
Without further ado, here are is my guide to keeping things fresh and creative in your business so people get excited about what YOU do and what YOU offer.
1. Keep your eyes on your OWN paper / Avoid compare and despair syndrome
It is human nature to want to know what other people are doing, especially in the beginning. Unfortunately, this is the quickest way to suck all the uniqueness out of your brand.
First, there is the general compare and despair problem. You compare your first chapter to someone else’s 20th (or even the end) and as a result, you feel too paralyzed to do anything in your own brand or even worse, you might be tempted to copy.
Bad news bears.
As a general rule, I tell most new business owners to limit the number of people they follow. This guarantees that everything you create will be not only fresh but 100% you. This feels REALLY uncomfortable at first (WAIT, WHAT IS EVERYONE ELSE DOING?) but once you get in the habit, you’ll develop your own personal style and way of doing things. Why?
Because you’ll have to. Nothing else to get inspired by but your own work.
Action: You know that business you have the jealousies for? Unsubscribe. No, really. (Except if it’s me, of course.)
2. Integrate interests you have OUTSIDE your business
The Backstreet Boys and Ryan Gosling have both become unofficial brand ambassadors for my business because I love to bring them into my business. It can be as big as a post talking about how Keanu Reeves can teach us about branding to signing your emails like this:
Peace, Love and Backstreet Boys,
Every little bit of who you are outside of your business helps you carve out your brand in the market. Like science? Get a designer to create a table of natural elements styled infographic to promote something you do. Love hip hop? Post a rap on your about page instead of the typical about page.
That totally nerdy thing that you don’t want anyone to know about — ever? That is most likely a good place to start.
Action: Think of 1 simple way you can bring one of your outside interests into your business.
3. Keep a notebook on you at all times
Inspiration strikes at the weirdest times, yo. My last product idea came to me as I was leaning down to pick up my dog’s poop. I have ideas when I am on the bus, when I am at the movies…everywhere. I actually picked this habit up from my childhood idol Harriet The Spy, a fellow writer who wrote down EVERYTHING.
Active note taking not only makes sure you don’t forget things, it teaches you to look at things differently. Everything becomes a potential awesome idea.
Now here is the REAL challenge. Have a great idea for something? Actually use it. That is where notetaking goes wrong, yo. No use taking notes if you have no intention of using it.
Use evernote or workflowy to collect all those notes for when you are ready for them.
Action: keep a notebook with you at all times for 1 day
4. Be unapologetic about who you are
As women, we are ALWAYS apologizing but the truth is this:
People want to know YOU. Flaws and all. Want to stand out? Be real. Don’t apologize about who you are, what you like or how you do things.
Now, don’t get me wrong: you don’t have to share everything.
Just know that you don’t need to put who you are through a filter. The more your honor yourself (even the weird bits), the more your brand and business will stand out because YOU are the thing that keeps people coming back for more.
Action: Be real
So those are 4 simple ways you can get more creative with your business and as a result find more of YOUR right people in the process.
Here are a few other RANDOM creative ways to stand out:
- Host a realty tv show watching party — just cause
- Send handwritten thank you notes to clients
- Use your own photography on your blog posts
- Create an unofficial mascot for your business — maybe a super cute dog?
- Do in-person meet ups and events
- Have some phone conversations with potential clients
Now I am gonna turn it over to you! What are YOUR ideas for bringing more YOU in your business? Do you have any ideas about how to integrate more Ryan Gosling into your everyday?
I want to know!