In the last post I invited you to take a look at your  inner self-talk.   How is that going?  Did  you discover anything new or surprising about how you think and speak about yourself?     Most people are quite  hard on themselves and may not consciously realize they are immersed in a stream of self-criticism all day long.

If you are one of those people–don’t add another layer of negativity by beating yourself up about being self critical!    That’s just wrong, my friend.

Here’s a  technique that’s been  helpful for me and for my clients.   One of my trainings was in Gestalt Therapy (the Wildflowers Center for Compassionate Body Centered Gestalt therapy in New Jersey).   We  learned how to  dialogue with different parts of ourselves—the hurt child, the inner wise adult, the rebellious teenager, and with our   “shadow”—fears, angers and other parts of ourselves that we disown.

Each “part” or aspect of our self needs to be included and validated.   Each part has a voice with a message, telling us what we need.   If we don’t listen to the voice, eventually it will either get very loud and take over, or go underground and turn into an illness, a depression or some other kind of negative experience.   The bottom line is that when we reject a part of ourselves, sooner or later it will cause a problem.

This can show up  in almost any way, but common signs are  procrastination, avoiding putting yourself out there, being unwilling to set limits with a client, depression, irritability, mood swings or some other form of resistance (pick your favorite flavor!).

Where are you in resistance or struggling? What task, or part of your business is more difficult for you?   Chances are there’s at least one, and possibly several parts of yourself that are stuck and need to be heard.

I can, and would love to help you.   Feel free to contact me to learn more about how I could assist you.

Meantime, try these  ideas for working on your own with your critical voices and shadow parts.   An excellent book is called  Embracing Your Inner Critic, by Hal and Sidra Stone. It will teach you  how to work with your Inner Critic, your judging voices AND other voices that also want to be heard.  Another great resource is  a guided meditation called Overcoming the Self -Destruct, by Sanaya Roman.  (www.orindaben.com). In this meditation you imagine sitting at the center of an “inner council” meeting where all your parts get to speak, and then you explore how they can all work together towards a common goal or desire.

Be forewarned that this work is not comfortable and can be challenging, especially if you tend to be self critical.   Go gently with yourself.  In a culture of perfectionism and “you are not enough” it’s quite a stretch to learn to  be this welcoming and accepting of yourself.   If this kind of work is new for you, or you want to go deeper and need the right support,  I suggest finding an experienced guide–me, another coach, therapist or healer.    Besides working with you with these issues, I’d love to empower you by showing how to  do this work on your own.

Jump in and experiment.   Have  fun meeting your parts and dialoguing with them, and let me know how it goes.

An easy way to  do this is by asking yourself when you get up, or during the day if you are getting stuck or bogged down, “What do I need right now? What part of me needs attention, and what does she   (this part) need?”.   Enjoy the discovery and the healing, and don’t hesitate to ask if you need additional support!

 

How resilient are you?   How well do you bounce back from a business slowdown, or when you put out an offer and it doesn’t fly?   In these shifting, accelerating and uncertain times, resilience is critical for everyone and especially business owners.   It’s become a buzzword in the corporate world and in   organizational psychology.

Of course solopreneurs and small business owners have always had to be more resilient and flexible and this can actually be an advantage we have over big companies, and these days we need more resilience than ever.   What makes a critical difference when you need to regroup, learn from your experience, adapt to new conditions and get going again, is the story you tell yourself about what happened, and what you say about yourself.

Our self-image, and the way we talk to and treat ourselves was mostly formed when we were very young—up to the age of 7.   These ways of thinking and acting, which we learned from parents, her family members, caregivers, or our early teachers, get programmed into our subconscious mind in the early years.   These beliefs and patterns then become automatic—like a tape loop that plays over and over inside you.   What that means is that you can still be living out the beliefs you formed in infancy and childhood.   They might even go back to prenatal times or your birth process.   So if you had a difficult birth you might have concluded that “Life is a struggle” or “Life is harsh”.   Later on, if your parents favored a sibling, or had too many children to give you the love and attention you needed, you might have decided that   “What I need is not important” or “I can’t get the attention I need”.   Can you see how such beliefs could affect your profitability, your ability to get good help or even attract clients?

If you had a choice–and you do–would you rather run your business from your mature adult self or from your infant or neglected 3 year old self?   You can learn to interrupt these unconscious negative patterns and replace them. You CAN change your self talk, and there are many ways to do this.

There are healing systems   that directly address these patterns, such as hypnotherapy or EFT.   A very effective method, not as well known as these others, is called Accelerated Belief Clearing (ABC).   ABC work is an evolution of a system called Resonance Repatterning and it helps to identify and change old programming very quickly and effectively.   There are also ways to learn supportive self-talk through on your own.   That’s what I’ll be focusing on over the next 31 days, during the Ultimate Blog Challenge I’m participating in, organized by Michelle Shaeffer and Michele Scism.

I look forward to sharing these simple and empowering techniques with you!  The first step is awareness, so get your journal or open a new file on your computer, and over the next few days, ask yourself, “How do I think about, or speak to myself about problems in my business? What do I tell myself when business slows down, or new clients don’t come back?”   Feel free to share what you discover.

PS If you’re into blogging, come join us in the 31 Day Ultimate Blog Challenge!   It began July 1 but you can still join and it’s free!

www.ultimateblogchallenge.com

 

Our school system trains us to get the right answer. “Being wrong” is a bad thing and leads to lower grades, disapproval, and feeling inadequate or like a failure.     As children growing up in this society, our self-esteem and confidence is shaped to large extent by how well we do in school.   For anyone who does not learn in the usual way, who has creative abilities that do not fit the mold, or has some kind of learning disability, this can be very damaging to that person’s self esteem—unless they are lucky enough to have understanding parents, a teacher or other mentoring adult to encourage them and acknowledge their unique gifts.

How does that translate to business, or especially self-employment?

The pressure to get it right, and only feeling valuable or successful when you do is a disaster.   Why? The biggest reason is because there is never one right way to  create a successful   business, there is never one right answer, there are always multiple paths to success.      The only requirement–and there are  as many ways to do this as there are unique individuals–is to  make sure your income exceeds your expenses,  ie, make a profit, in order to continue to stay in business and support yourself and your family.

Trying to be right can lead to several major time and energy drains.   One is perfectionism…where you can’t get started unless it’s perfect.   The perfect website, logo, mission statement, etc.   Or you get started but keep correcting, tweaking and revising because again, it’s not perfect.   How do you even know if it’s “right” “good” or “perfect?”

A cousin to that is analysis paralysis—over analyzing your statistics, strategies, or competition and not taking action.   Also in the family is the “Impostor Syndrome”—where you never feel like you know enough and somehow you are just ‘faking’ your expertise.   That in turn leads to “BSO” syndrome—chasing the latest bright shiny object.   The latest social media tool, the latest information product, course or coach.   And you know what that leads to, right?–the dreaded Information Overwhelm.

Bottom line is you can really get bogged down, even stuck in place by trying to be right.

Yes, there are proven business models, of how to run a profitable business, that will work better in particular industries.  Even within those models, there are many ways to ‘get it right’.   That’s where our creative genius, our fresh perspectives along with sound advice from mentors and those who’ve already succeeded, and listening to our intuitive and body based knowing, all of this  comes in handy.    

To get the most useful answers, start with a useful question.   That question is NOT  “what’s the right way?” but “what is the best service or product to focus on, what is the optimal business model, and way of operating that works for me and my clients? What makes sense and gives me a sense of “YES” or green light, GO,  given my current  resources of time, money and energy, my personal style and strengths, and the type of business and client I serve, at this point in time?”

I’m certainly NOT saying that you should not spend time learning from others, analyzing your market and looking at how you can best attract and serve your customers or clients. But some of the best learning you will do is by learning in action.   Staying in your head or planning a business on paper won’t actually provide the feedback you need to grow and maintain a successful business.  

Look at the different areas of your business and see if you are stuck anywhere on ‘getting it right”..and what do you need to get unstuck? Is it really more research, information or coaching? Or is it just letting go, letting things be good enough, and sending the arrow off into space?

I invite you to let go of the rigid chains of being right and having to be perfect, and enjoy the playground of creative ambiguity and trusting your gut!

It must be you…right?  After all, this is your business, and you’re owner, chief cook and bottle washer!

But are you operating your business from your mature adult self, or some child aspect?   Are you using your higher level “command” functions–your cerebral hemispheres–or is your reptilian brain, your “fight or flight” instinct in charge?

Speaking with a client the other day who has a year old business, her money fears were coming up big-time, including a fear that she would repeat a past business failure, run out of money, and end up as a homeless person.   As we talked, it was clear that the financial fears were bordering on panic…and she agreed with me that being in a place of panic and overwhelm is not the energy that will easily attract customers and money.    

In business–and in any part of our lives–any kind of fear or potentially threatening situation can “trigger” us into a reactive, reptilian brain response.   Once we are triggered, we are in fear, and our nervous system, even our organs begin to shut down…and so we are not able to think clearly or be in a creative, problem solving mode.   This is NOT an empowered place for good decision making and taking constructive action.   We need our reptilian brain and survival instincts–they are not bad or wrong–but they are mostly for helping us escape from physical danger, or to help us avoid people that can be a threat to us.   This part of our intelligence is NOT wired for executive decision making and considering various alternatives.

The sole function of our  reptilian brain –the oldest and least-evolved part of our brain–is to ensure that we stay alive.     The classic reptilian brain responses are  “fight” or aggresive response, the “flight” or avoidance response, the “immobilized” or passive response.    

Why is it  important to understand these responses and to realize that the stresses and fears in our daily lives and in our business can trigger them?    Being triggered will completely block you from  seeing what is going on, and dealing with it constructively.   Being triggered  means you are in reaction and cannot find creative solutions or take action.  

With practice, you can learn the signs of being triggered and know your own typical “style” of reactiveness, so  that when  you find yourself in  your trigger pattern, you can  address the reaction right  away instead of losing hours, days, weeks or even months being stuck in it.  

How can you tell if you are triggered?   The   “fight” response can lead to feeling  anxious and restless, irritable, can’t sleep, feeling  defensive and on edge, a kind of “road rage” feeling even if you are not driving.   If you are having a strong reaction to a technology glitch or you get really uprset by  let’s say, a client unsubscribing from yoru email list or canceling an appointment.  

Signs of the “flight” response are usually some form of checking out..trouble focusing,  feeling sleepy or foggy headed, wanting to run away to a tropical island, or you start thinking about jump starting your old corporate career.   If you suddenly stop returning phone calls and just want to withdraw.     Other ways you might be unconsciously trying to  “flee” : numbing out or  sedating your nervous system with carbs, sweets, salty or fried foods, or get lost surfing the web for hours, supposedly in the name of research.

The third set of signals to watch out for are the immobilization response, where you essentialy get frozen, and feel unable to act, like the weaker dog “playing dead” to the more powerful one, so he won’t be attacked.   This is where you refuse to look at your bills for weeks or months, you sit in front of the computer staring blankly at it, and you don’t execute any of your plans.  

So, get to know your reptilian brain responses, and the kind of things that tend to trigger you, so that you manage your business and your life from a more empowered, emotionally balanced place, where you listen to, but aren’t ruled by your survival instincts.       If the reptilian brain issues often put you into anxiety and overwhelm, if you have a lot of earlier trauma in your life, then you may also consider  doing some coaching and repatterning work with me to clear these tendencies at a deep level.  

Won’t it feel great to have your most evolved intelligence and creative problem solver in charge of your business?

Does anyone know who said that? I’d love to give him or her credit for this brilliance.
Why is a niche so important, why all the fuss?   In a solo business especially, your niche essentially defines your business, because a niche will answer the core questions we must define in order to have a business: what is my unique offering (what am I selling), and who is my target audience (who am I wanting to sell to?).     It’s what Mark Silver calls your who-who-what.  
Yet, according to a recent survey-over 47% of small business owners don’t have a clear niche.   And it’s a source of confusion and struggle for many of us, especially for coaches and energy workers, because there are so many people we can—and usually would like to—help.
If you are a creative, right brain type, you may really dislike or dread this niche concept because it seems to be a narrowing or cutting off process—and we don’t like to cut off any options!
On the other hand, how much more effective could you be, how many more people could you serve—how much easier could marketing AND making more money be–if you knew who your customers were, how to find them and talking to them, develop offerings that provide what they need–what they will be happy to say yes to!  
I highly recommend Cindy Schulson’s work on Attracting Your Niche, and she has a free teleclass on May 25th at 8pm Eastern where you can learn more about new ways to approach marketing and your niche.   So, if you don’t feel crystal clear on your niche yet,  join Cindy’s teleclass.  Here’s the link to register for the teleclass: http://tinyurl.com/3jg5go3   (yes, this is an affiliate link, and I can highly recommend Cindy’s work from personal experience).
  
  
  

  

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Humility—Could It be a Key to Your Prosperity?

The dominant model of success—which is fortunately beginning to shift in the age of the conscious entrepreneur – is about getting attention, standing out, and dominating in the marketplace.     It says we will succeed only by tooting our own horn and the louder the better!     What could be less humble than that?

On the other hand, the root of the word  humility is  â€humble.”   In its traditional meaning, which we associate with Christianity and other religious teachings, being humble implies modesty and being unassuming, or even the  kind of self-debasement where we make ourselves less than others.   How on earth could a quality like that be part of creating abundance and prosperity for yourself?

I propose a fresh look at humility to see how this quality actually supports our prosperity and well being, from the perspective of yoga teachings and the Sufi tradition.

On the yoga path, a key teaching is “You are not the doer”.   That means that while you may act and serve in various ways, you are a conduit through which Source energy is flowing and expressing itself.   You are not the ultimate cause of what happens, yet you are also responsible for your part in things.   Your  results come from a blend of self effort and grace.

With humility we can   take credit for our achievements and our failures too, while staying   aware that we are also actors on the cosmic stage of life, playing a part in larger trends and   in our individual and collective destinies.   So we can relax and surrender to the fact that  we aren’t completely in charge.   From there we can see that everything is  part of an interconnected web that takes into account  the greatest good for all souls–not just our personal needs and desires.

In the Sufi way, humility is actually a quality of the Divine, and it has to do with accepting a larger, unknowable destiny or grand scheme of life.   When someone has a great shift after you work with them, you may stand in awe and amazement, you may even feel humbled by the wisdom and resilience within the client, or by the power of the work itself—but you don’t take all the credit.   In the same way if you say something to a client that you realize later wasn’t so skillful, or that you haven’t been doing well with your marketing, that this is part of our journey and our learning, these seeming failures or disappointments, and we can correct our course at any time.

As a business owner, humility might mean looking closely at what is and isn’t working, and perhaps acknowledging where there are knowledge gaps about marketing or accounting, or even in your skills a as a practitioner.   Humility helps us see when it’s time to get help from a mentor, coach, friend or healer, learning program or an office assistant. It helps us to be compassionate when things take longer than we expect them to, and to accept that we are imperfect and don’t always know what to do.   We can step back from time to time and ask “is it time to change course here, or what else is needed.

In terms of money and prosperity, humility can help us to be at peace with what is.   We learn to accept what our current situation is and flow with it, even though we may prefer and work towards more prosperity.   Humility here helps us to acknowledge when there appears to be a defeat or setback, that there is a bigger picture, even if we can’t see what it is in the moment, and also to ask for help to change what we can change, and accept and live with what can’t be changed—the serenity prayer.

So for your peace of mind AND prosperity, try a little dose of humility.   You might be surprised!

I found this great post on ProBlogger…the author suggests picking one or two strategies that you think could work for you..if you do, tell us which one(s) appeal to you and why..and any results you get!

ready, set, blog!

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/02/05/10-little-known-ways-to-get-traffic-to-your-blog/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney+%28ProBlogger:+Helping+Bloggers+Earn+Money%29

Focus: a vital skill in the Age of Distraction.   Simple but not easy, I know!

Here’s a great article and acronym  from a blog by  Joel D.  Canfield, a consultant  who helps virtual assistants grow their business.
He wrote:
“The most important aspect of your business is what’s happening between your ears right now.   How you think is your greatest asset—or you greatest liability. I’ve recently discovered two people who not only understand this, but who know how to help the rest of us get a grip on it. Wendy Kerr and Elisa French share their keen insights at their website Business Breakthrough Now.
This morning I read their latest, a great piece on focus which used the acronym I stole for my title. Their focus was on positive thinking; to choose some specific aspect of a positive mental attitude, then look for ways to implement it throughout the day.
I have trouble focusing. It’s not a medical issue. It’s because I find virtually everything fascinating. I have ideas all the time. Good ideas, I’ll wager. Then, I try to make them all realities. At the same time.   If you find yourself, at the end of your day, or week, or month, pondering what you got done on this, that, and the other projects, comparing which you made progress on and which languished—ask yourself whether each of these projects is directly supporting your primary business or life goal.
Goal. Singular. As in one single primary goal for your business. One single primary goal in life. It’s hard to narrow everything you love down to a single overarching goal. It’s also incredibly powerful.   FOCUS. Follow one course until successful.”
What one thing are you going to focus on today, this week, this month to grow your business?

http://www.findvirtual.com/profiles/blogs/follow-one-course-until

If you ask how to make money online, you’re generally going to hear one of two things. You’re going to hear people telling you that you can’t make money online. That all the good topics and business models are taken up. However, that’s untrue.

You’re also going to hear people who will promise you that you can make millions online. While that is true for many, it’s not common. What is true about making money online is that anything is possible, and it’s quite likely that you can make a very comfortable living doing something that you love. So here’s the lowdown on how to make money online.

What Makes Money Online?

There are a few basic business models that generally achieve a good deal of success online. They include:

  • Information marketing – Information is sold online, generally about a specialty topic.
  • Membership marketing – Profit is made by selling memberships and selling advertising space.
  • Service provider – Profit is made by providing a service. For example, virtual assistants provide administrative services online.
  • Retailer or ecommerce – Profit is made by selling a product online.
  • Affiliate marketing – Profit is made by promoting the products or services of others and earning a commission.

There are a few things these five business models have in common. They all operate online – that’s a given because we’re talking about online business. They also all need people to visit their website in order to survive. How do they get people to their website?

Content

Content is the unifying theme behind successful websites. People go online to be entertained, to be informed, to connect and communicate. The single unifying thread for all of these interactions is content.

Content can be read, watched, listened to and shared. It can be an article, a blog post, a report, a book, an online course, a video or an audio. Without content a website doesn’t stand a chance. Information is the reason for the internet. If a website doesn’t provide information, it has no value to online users.

The Basics

Okay, so you choose your business model. You choose a business topic or specialty; this is often called a niche. A niche is a specialty topic. For example, you could decide you want to start a membership site. Great – about what? Recipes, because you love to cook and share recipes. Fantastic! Now it’s time to create the content for your website. You need to give people a reason to visit your website and become a member. The next step is to continue to provide value. What are you going to offer your members to motivate them to stay members?

What information are you going to provide as an information marketer that will motivate people to buy your books? What information can you provide clients to motivate them to hire you as a service provider?

Online, regardless of the model you choose, people want to know one thing: “What is in this for me? How will this benefit me?” Choose your topic and model wisely. Create fantastic content and provide value. That’s the core of any successful online business.

Categories : Online Business
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Testimonials are an exceptional selling tool. They tell potential buyers that you’re trustworthy. They tell potential buyers that your product or service fulfills its promise. Testimonials tell potential customers that you have credibility. And they tell potential customers what they want to hear – that you really can solve their problems.

Testimonials are an effective buying trigger because they offer information about your product or service that you just can’t offer yourself. It’s like a personal recommendation, and it’s worth the effort to get quality testimonials and to use them.

How Do You Get More Testimonials?

You may get testimonials at unexpected times.   If a client is thanking you after you’ve worked with him or her, listen and write down what they say.   Maybe they will say something in an email or in a thank you card.     These are spontaneous testimonials, the best and most natural sounding ones.

What if they don’t automatically provide one?   TSimple: you ask!  Most people are afraid to ask for testimonials. They feel it’s pushy or they fear being rejected.   You can actually make it easier for people by giving them some guidelines on what to say, and you’ll almost certainaly discover that  most customers are happy to give testimonials.   Mostly they are busy with their own lives and concerns and may not thinking about offering a testimonial..until you ask.  

  Think about when you have a good or bad experience with a company. If you have a bad experience, you want to shout it from the rooftops. You write reviews; you tell your friends and associates. Maybe you even write a complaint to the company.

When you have a good experience, you say thank you. Generally, we don’t talk as much about the good news as we do about the bad news. However, if someone asks us, we’ll go on for hours about our positive experiences.

So in order to get more testimonials you have to ask. You’ll of course ask all of your happy customers. However, consider also asking experts in your industry to provide a testimonial. Send them a free product or offer a service, then collect the testimonial. It’ll have more power because it’s coming from someone people like and respect. Can you imagine what a ringing endorsement it would be if Martha Stewart wrote a testimonial for your home organization business?

Help People Provide Testimonials

While your customers may appreciate you, and want to spread the word, they often need guidance about what to say in a testimonial. Many people just don’t know what to say.   YOu can prompt them by reminding them of results they’ve gotten from working with you, or come up with a list of questions that they can answer, that will guide them in what to say.  You can then post the testimonial and consider it valid.

Position Your Testimonials Well

There are some key places to position your testimonials. One such location is on your sales page. The testimonials will serve to support a prospect’s buying decision. You can also use them in your newsletter and in email communications. Consider also creating a separate page on your website with testimonials. Place the strongest and most compelling testimonials prominently where they’re sure to be read. To your success!

Categories : Online Business
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