Archive for Solopreneurs

Jun
10

Who’s really running the show?

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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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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

Feb
12

Success from the Inside Out

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In my last post, I ended with this statement:

“The most solid foundation for your success comes from—can you guess?—you.  ”  

I confess, I’m an “inside out” girl.   I believe your success starts from the inside out.   You can be so much more effective when you  know and understand yourself and how you operate..a missing ingredient for many people.     When you know who you are, you can easily filter in what works, and filter out what doesn’t, based on your personality, learning style, and time constraints.  

Knowing yourself   gives you decision making criteria so you can sort through the marketing pressure and hype.   You can tell whether a particular  business model, marketing technique or  info product is   something that you  can actually use and benefit from.

In these times of  information overload, and the vast  array of marketing options and ways to design our businesses, it’s even more important than ever to understand  who you are,   and how you operate, what your values are, and  who your target audience is.      

Why? Because the Bright Shiny Objects are getting brighter, shinier, and more plentiful by the day.   As the number of information products, trainings and channels to market ourselves mutliply, so does the need to discriminate, to know who you are and to have an internal navigating system.   That’s  ever more  critical to staying focused, on track and making some money.  

Making money?   Oh yeah..that!      

Clearly there is much to  learn,  and clearly there are plenty of people willing to teach us. But even good business advice comes in different flavors, and we have to find what works for us. The problem is that every “guru” has a different recipe for us, and it’s so easy to run from pillar to post, following the latest advice.

Ultimately then, you need to find your own internal home base.   A place from which to sort through and choose a business model and marketing strategies that make sense for YOU and YOUR business.   From home base, you are grounded in yourself, and know  your priorities, values and who you are.   

That gives you the  power  to navigate through your own “gremlins” or vulnerable areas, like perfectionism or feeling “Not Enough”.   You can  find that   sweet spot where you are not yet perfect (and don’t have to be) but know that you are indeed “ready enough” to take action.

Are you ready?   Then come back to visit here often…and in the meantime, watch out for those Bright Shiny Objects!

To your success and sanity,

Ellen

Feb
11

SoloPreneur: Know thyself first!

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Are you rushing breathlessly ahead with your business plans and marketing without  a clear vision, strategy and plans of action?   Are you putting the How before the Why?

Here’s my response to an  excellent  post by Richard Goutal on his  blog,  Fitting the Pieces, which is about collaboration and internet marketing.     We met at  the Online Revenue Workshop together in Las Vegas, with Jeannette Cates and Connie Ragen Green, and I am very impressed with his knowledge and generosity.  

To succeed in any business–especially as a solopreneur,  we need to have clear answers on this:  who am I, what strengths   and talents would I enjoy offering in a way that meets my customer’s needs?   Who  am I trying to serve, and what is the best way to reach that audience?

Following the clarion call to “Take Action Now!” many seem to rush   ahead or get caught up will-nilly with the latest Bright Shiny Objects.   It seems especially true with  internet marketers. With all the hype, the constant email barrage about the latest technology we MUST (or are intimidated into believing we need) in order to succeed..and all the things we feel we must know about before we can start a business, it’s way too easy to put the How before the Why.     That’s the   double edged sword of online  businesses where there’s a relatively low cost to get started and a plethora of   models to choose from.  

Can you imagine trying to create an offline business without a clear idea of what you were selling or who you were selling it to?   No one who had any serious desire to succeed would even consider that.

I’m not taking a stand against  taking action.   We all get it that  without action,  the best made plans of women and men will languish in our idea journals, or on our hard drive.    For those of us that may be more introverted, analytical or slower to act…getting lost in inquiry and introspection or even planning and generating business ideas, can be a trap,   where we can get bogged down for years.     Trust me on that one.

Discrimination is key–taking the right action, the strategic action, the action that makes the most sense NOW and will get us where we want to go faster and easier..that’s the challenge.   How much to plan, how much research to do, before we jump in? When is someone ready, or ready enough, to get their business into motion?

Perfectionism and the need to have it all figured out in advance can be a huge obstacle.   Here’s a very different philosophy, which I heard Michael Port express when he was building his Book Yourself Solid platform: “Ready, fire, aim”. That certainly has worked for him.

But I don’t think it does for most people.    

The most solid foundation for your success comes from—can you guess?—you.      

Yup.     It’s that simple.   More on this next post!

To your success and sanity,

Ellen

Jan
29

Getting focused

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I am immersed in a live learning environment, the Online Revenue Workshop   led by Jeannette Cates and Connie Ragen Green, two very experienced teachers who are   fantastic instructors.     We are  knee deep in keyword searching, article publishing, membership sites, and the many things one needs to know to create and succeed online.   I recommend them highly and any experienced of a  hands-on learning environment, learning and applying technology immediately.   It’s giving me a  sense of empowerment and being able to move forward that is making me even more excited about the  possibilities of growing my business and helping you grow yours!  

The theme that ties it all together, is FOCUS.     The more focused you are on who you are reaching, what problems you help them with and what you are offering—the easier it is to build a site and a business that will succeed.     The very specific keywords you use should be related to what you are wanting to market.  

It is so easy to run after the tools—“I need to get video on my site!”,   “I need to start using Twitter and Facebook”, “I need a membership site!” and sign up for more courses and info products.   It’s so easy to lose sight of your priorities, and your overall direction in this world of bright shiny objects.       What are you trying to make happen in your business this month, and in the next three months, the next year?   Are you focused more on list building or trying to get a few more clients this month?  

Okay, now what was I doing before this blog post called out “Write me!”?   Focus, girl, focus!

And you, what do you need to get back to now, what are you focusing on today?

Categories : Solopreneurs
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