No doubt you’ve heard about storytelling and authenticity, and how being your true self is your most powerful branding tactic. But just how open and honest should you be when it comes to sharing your story?
Pat Flynn and Jon Lee Dumas are notorious for their transparency, even going so far as to post monthly income statements. You might argue that when you’re making the kind of bank they do (6+ figures each month) it’s easy to share—perhaps even inspirational to your audience. But it might also be off-putting to some, since talking about money is often seen as vulgar. In this case, though, it works to attract the exact audience they are after. Others will find other mentors, and that is, after all, the point of marketing.
Transparency comes in other forms as well. Struggles with alcoholism, depression, cancer and other health concerns are commonly shared. Stories of marriage and relationship triumphs (and tragedies) are told. Even spats between competing businesses aren’t off limits for some marketers.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to be frank and honest about all areas of your life and business. With a little forethought and planning, you can keep certain aspects of your story private.
Watch Your Social Media Profiles
Here’s where a lot of business owners falter, especially when it comes to Facebook. You have your personal profile, to which you invite friends and family, and your business page, where you talk, well, business.
But there will inevitably be some overlap. Colleagues will slowly filter into your personal timeline, and you into theirs. Pretty soon, your business people are hearing all about your latest bout with the flu and that snarky thing your mother in law said yesterday. Too much? Maybe.
When it comes to your social media sharing, it’s important to pay close attention to not only what you say, but who you’re saying it to. Using privacy settings, contact lists, and even limiting who you “friend” can help maintain your privacy while still being transparent about your business offerings.
Remember, the Internet is Forever
While privacy settings can help, a better way to keep your personal business away from prying eyes is to simply not post it at all. Think of every blog post, Tweet, Facebook status update and Instagram pic as a billboard. If you wouldn’t post it on the side of the highway for all who pass to read it, don’t put it online either. The chance that it will “leak” (despite your best efforts) is great, and once it’s out there, you will not ever get it back.
So, think twice about those nasty replies, intimate details, and other confidential information. You just never know who might be reading, and they will affect your brand image.
The bottom line: Know your audience and know yourself. If you’re not comfortable sharing certain aspects of your life and business, chances are they won’t be comfortable hearing about it, either. It’s okay to maintain some privacy, even in this transparent world of online marketing.
Have you ever posted something you regretted posting? Share below if you dare, Coach Deb
If there’s one mistake that new—and sometimes even established—business owners make, it’s this: failing to develop a clear vision of her ideal client.
Too often we think our service or product is “for everyone.” And while it might be true that everyone could use your help, it’s simply not possible for you and your brand to appeal to everyone. Your prices might not be in line with what some can afford. Your branding might not resonate with others. Your story may not touch everyone with the same sense of urgency.
And when you try to reach everyone, rather than narrowing your focus to your truly ideal client, you dilute your message, making it even less likely that those perfect customers will find you.
But if you’re just starting out, it can seem an impossible task to know who your ideal client is. Start with these three points.
1. Gender. Is your audience male or female? While men and women might both read and enjoy your content—and even buy your products—you will most likely find that your market is skewed heavily one way or the other. Men and women are different, and they are affected by stories and branding in very different ways, so what appeals to a man will not always appeal to a woman. Look around at some of the brands you buy, and you’ll quickly see how they form their messages to appeal to one or the other, but very rarely both.
2. Goals. What does your client hope to achieve, and how do your products and services help to realize those goals? Whether she’s trying to build a profitable crafting blog so she can stay home with her children, or he’s working to create an online resource for muscle car fans, if you don’t know where they’re going, you can’t help them get there.
3. His or her point in the journey. Is she a beginner or well along on the path? How you speak, how you write, what marketing methods you use, and even what prices you charge will all be determined by your ideal client’s level of sophistication. Whether you’re teaching beginning knitters how to cast on, or helping couch potatoes train for their first 5k, their level of commitment (and willingness to spend) is far different from a long-time knitter who is discovering intarsia, or a runner working up to a triathlon. And you will not reach your market effectively if you don’t know exactly where they are and what they need at this point.
Of course, if you’re just starting out, you might not yet know who your ideal client is. That’s okay, too. But pay attention, because they will tell you. They’ll tell you through the products and services they buy. They’ll tell you by following you (or not) on social media. They’ll tell you by commenting on your blog and asking questions that are relevant to them.
Watch your interactions, study the businesses of those who contact you for help, and take a look at what your competition is doing, and soon enough you’ll have a clear understanding of who your ideal client really is.
What do you think? Leave me a comment or questions below, Coach Deb
It’s happened to every entrepreneur at one time or another—probably more than once.
You offer a proposal or contract, only to have your potential client respond with, “That sounds great, but I can’t afford it.”
What do you do?
For a lot of entrepreneurs, their first response is to lower their rate. After all, they reason, she really does need my help. Plus, it’s good karma, and she’ll talk about me with her friends, and refer business to me later.
Maybe, but more likely than not, what you end up with is a client who takes far too much of your time, for less money than you deserve. You wind up resentful, and wondering why you aren’t earning the living you know you’re capable of.
I want you to make a promise to yourself right now that you will never again lower your rates to appeal to a client. Doing so devalues your services, makes the client less likely to follow through, and worse, makes you feel terrible later.
Now, I’m not saying you can never offer special deals. But I do want you to change how those offers are made. Here’s how it works.
If your service package includes:
and your potential client claims to not be able to afford your asking price of $1,000 per month, rather than offering to reduce the price, you offer to reduce the price and the package.
So, the offer you make to her now includes everything BUT the in-person meeting every quarter.
You have not lowered your rates so far that you feel used, but at the same time, you’ve worked with her to create a plan she can afford. It’s a true win-win for both of you.
The same technique can be used for any type of service provider, unless you’re charging strictly by the hour. If that’s the case, take a look at how you can reduce the number of hours you need to invest while still providing value.
For example, rather than offering four one-hour calls, change your plan to just two calls, with email follow-ups. She’ll still get plenty of value, and you’ll free up some time by inviting email questions rather than blocks of time on the phone.
Next time you’re asked to reduce your rates for anything, take a close look at how you can also reduce the work you’ll be doing. That way you’ll never feel as if you’ve been taken advantage of, and your clients will still get great service.
Leave us a comment below with your tips for not lowering your rates, Coach Deb
Learning how to be successful in life can be slow sometimes and it can make you feel frustrated at sluggish progress in your success journey - despite all the know-how and principles you rigorously employ.
Can success be sped up? Is there an antidote to slow outcomes despite arduous planning and actions taken? What's the secret for seeing huge results right now?
Let's get one thing straight…
When we admire someone's success, or even our own, we often focus on the end result and not so much on the effort (and time) that it took to become successful. This can cultivate unrealistic expectations, especially the idea that overnight success can happen through careful strategy and an execution of sound advice.
How to be Successful By Focusing on What IS Working The truth be told, success typically follows a series of little events and achievements that can seem to take an eternity, that include a few disappointments along the way, and that challenge everything about you to the core - your stamina, courage, integrity, and even your willingness to keep going.
If you focus on what's not working, guess what: You're likely coming from a place of aggravation as your mind wraps around all that is wrong.
You may even have negative thoughts like, "I'm not good enough," "It will never work," or "Something must be wrong with me."
What this mentally does is engender more of these counter-productive feelings. You attract what you are feeling. So, negative experiences, people, and results will beget more negative experience, people, and results.
There's not much success in that.
The key in learning how to be successful then, is to focus on what IS working
Practice Journaling and Meditation
In order to focus on what is working, I recommend two simple practices: journaling and meditation.
Maintaining a journal or as I like to call it, a gratitude journal is a great way to steer your attention to the positive and continually renew your vision for yourself.
Start each day with reflections on what you are grateful for in your life (list them out!) and end each day with notes on what went right (again, write them down) however small they may seem.
Spend time each day in quiet contemplation, prayer or meditation.
Learning how to meditate can be a powerful tool for arriving at solutions to problems and shifting your attitude so you can attract success sooner rather than later.
The magic of meditation is it’s ability to essentially shut down the outer layer of your judgmental, highly-critical brain and allow your unconscious mind to take over. This is where you enter a deeper state of inner peace and joy, tapping into a higher level of creativity that will help usher in the results you want.
(If you’re new to meditation or if you’ve struggled when meditating on your own I've written a post to teach beginners how to meditate.)
Are You Taking Real Action?
Let's say you're doing ALL these things, but you still aren't happy with your success...
I'll ask you then, are you taking real ACTION?
You may be taking the actions you are used to taking. But, if you keep doing what you've already done, then you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. It's a matter of practicing some new behaviors. Shake things up a bit and see if you can take new actions or modify existing ones.
Every day do five specific things that take you toward your goal. Change up the five actions regularly and be open to feedback so you know when you're off course.
Success Takes Patience
Lastly, I want to remind you about patience.
It's natural to underestimate how long a certain goal can take, especially a profound one. When I set a goal to become a millionaire the year was 1983.
How long did it take? Eleven years. It took time for Chicken Soup for the Soul to hit the bestseller lists. You could say our tenure on the New York Times list was more than a decade in the making.
That's a lot of patience for someone who initially wanted overnight success.
Continue to Take Action
So, yes, patience is a virtue. But, keep at it, and in no time, you'll be only one week, or one day away from your ultimate success.
Remember... be grateful, reflect on what IS working and continue to take ACTION!
I want to leave you with a bit of homework to complete. Resolve to start a gratitude journal to begin steering your attention to the positive and continually renew your vision for yourself.
Another blog by Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com
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