Marketing

Titles | Full

I wrote last week about how amazing retreats are for your business. But depending on how far along you are in your business, there may be some preliminary leg work to do before you dive deep into retreat planning.

Not every business is retreat-ready, and if you’re going to put the work into planning and organizing, you want to make damn sure you’re going to fill your retreat!

Most people who run successful retreats already have an existing business. When I was starting Uncaged, I KNEW I eventually wanted to incorporate retreats, but I had no idea where I would pull clients from. That was a good sign that I wasn’t quite ready yet. With some solid hustle and hard work, within a year I was planning and running my first retreat (and it sold out, and I made money! Woot!). Four years later I am still running retreats, and am teaching others how to do the same, without going nuts, or broke.

Retreats CAN happen sooner than you think in your business, I promise!

 

Filling a retreat is one of the most challenging aspects of this whole retreat biz, and you want to make sure that your business has a solid foundation when you start running retreats.

 

 

If you’re not sure what exactly you’re offering or who it’s for, filling your retreat is not going to come easily. I know – it’s sad news. But the best retreats are the ones that are run by business owners who have spent the time creating the foundations of their business first and building a strong brand and client base. Your retreat is going to be an extension of your business, and if your business isn’t working (ie. you have no clients and no prospects), your retreat doesn’t have much hope. Womp womp.

But don’t worry – with the tips I’ll give you below, you can build this foundation more quickly than you might think, and you’ll be retreat-ing in no time!

Outline the core components of your biz listed below. If you get stuck and the answers don’t come easily, there is a good chance you need to dig deeper and narrow your focus and clarify your foundations. Don’t get discouraged  – you can do this fairly quickly and will be retreat-ing sooner than you think. But it pays to do this preliminary work, because it will help you tremendously when you’re trying to market and and get those butts into your retreat.

 

YOUR FOUNDATIONS:

What is your business message?

What main problem does your business solve for your clients?

What results do you provide?

Who are your ideal clients?

What services do you offer your clients?

Knowing these things is key to selling anything in your business, and selling retreats are no different. If you haven’t gotten clear on these business foundations yet, spend some time on these before diving into retreat planning. Your future retreat will thank you!

 

YOUR REACH:

In order to fill your retreat, you need to actually have people to sell it to. It sounds obvious, but there are a few ways to help you get ready.

The bigger and more importantly, more engaged your list, the easier it will be sell your retreat (or any of your courses for that matter!). I give more specific retreat-marketing tips in my new course Your First Retreat.

 

Some questions to ask yourself to find out if your business is retreat-ready

  • Do you have a mailing list (even a small one), or a Facebook group or page where you interact with your audience? If not, create one now and start building your reach. When it comes time to market  your retreat you’ll have a warm audience who is ready and waiting to say yes please! to your offer. I know you just wish I could tell you an exact number, but unfortunately there is no magic number for how many people you should have on your list (I know, I know, it’s annoying that I won’t just tell you!). The thing is, I know people who have sold out retreats with a list of 150 super engaged folks, and people who haven’t been able to fill retreats with a list of thousands. The more valuable content you put out  into your world and the more you engage with and listen to your audience (and then create a retreat that specifically fills a need for them), the better positioned you are to fill your retreat spots when you launch.
  • Do you have a decently steady stream of new clients? If not, what are you doing to improve this? Past clients make GREAT retreat participants because you have already built a solid relationship with them. Work with and network with as many people as possible if you’re planning on running retreats in the future. The fact that you have new people coming to you to work with you means that you’re reaching people with a strong message – muy importante for retreats!
  • Can you think of at least 5 people in your inner circle/on your client list that would say YES to a retreat right now? The bigger your personal network, the more likely you are to fill  your retreat. #science. If your network is small,  you’ll want to work on building those relationships before planning a retreat. In my new retreat course, I give you an email that you will actually send to these people, so start thinking about that list of people now!

 

If you’re having trouble getting clients, or you have no one to market to, it’s likely that filling a retreat (which tends to be a higher priced offering that most of your services probably are) is going to be challenging, so you’ll want to work on building a base, first, so that marketing your retreat is easier when the time comes.

If you feel like you need help in this arena, and KNOW you eventually want to run retreats, I’ve included a whole section in the new course about how to start to build your list and grow your reach. Get on the list here for when it launches.

Retreats can happen sooner than you think in your business, but it pays to do the foundational work to get your business retreat-ready to avoid disappointment (and avoid losing money!) when you launch!

Happy retreating!

xx becca

PS. I’m doing a FREE training next week about the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid when running your first retreat. Click here to save your spot!

It’s no surprise that I love to travel (my landlord who lives upstairs from me made a comment to me that she’s never seen someone come and go as often as I have and that I really am walking my Uncaged talk).

And one of the ways that I make sure I get to travel is by running retreats here at Uncaged. For the past 4 years I have teamed up with my past client and retreat partner Kate Marolt to take a group of women to Belize to explore the jungle, work on business, and have a sweet entrepreneurial vacation with other people who are psyched about what they are creating in the world (because sometimes friends and family just don’t get it). We happen to have 2 spots left on that retreat for 2017, if it sounds like fun to you! Click here to find out more.

Retreats are magical for your business for so many reasons, and I wanted to share some of why I LOVE them, to help inspire you to run your own.

 

Reasons why retreats are amazing:

Transformational experiences

By gathering a group of people and swooping them away to a sweet destination, you have the power to really effect change in your clients. Sure, your online/phone coaching is great and helps your clients immensely, but there is something about being on location, with group of likeminded people, experiencing coaching in the flesh, that is life-altering. The retreat space acts as this magical bubble where shifts happen WAY faster than if someone was sitting at home (sans-pants), thinking or talking about how they want their life to change. On retreats, they are actively DOING it, which is where the transformation happens.

 

Connecting with clients and meeting new friends in the offline space

Skype video chat can only take you so far, and getting to meet your clients in person is one of the coolest feelings ever. It adds a whole level of depth to client relationships that is hard to achieve online. You also get to meet new friends on retreats and build a community that is super tight-knit. Sure, you can do this in Facebook groups, but there is nothing quite like drinking rum together under the jungle canopy, slogging through a tough hike together, or having cozy morning tea chatting about your biggest dreams, to help create a bond that just doesn’t happen online.

 

Getting paid to travel

If your goal is to live an uncaged life, travel is probably part of the equation. Retreats not only allow you to travel, they also let you get paid! Your costs will all be covered for your own travel on your retreat, plus, if you play your cards right (ie. do your planning properly), you’ll alway be walking away with a pretty penny in the bank. Don’t get me wrong, retreats are a LOT of work, but the benefit of getting a paid-for travel experience is hard to beat!

 

Bringing in new clients

Many people use retreat as a way to connect with new clients, and then enroll them in higher paying coaching programs after the retreat. This is a natural progression – client goes on retreat with you, has the best time ever, gets to see you in action and see how damn smart you are, and wants to work with you after retreat is over. It’s WAY easier to enrol someone after they have already worked with you, and being in the flesh with your clients builds the know/like/trust factor like whoa. Hellooooo full client roster after retreats!

 

Retreats are a crap ton of work, but they are soooo worth it for all the benefits you receive! If you’re keen in learning more about how to plan your own retreats, I’m launching an online course soon that will tell you everything you need to know to plan and execute transformational and profitable retreats. Click here for more info about the retreat course.

 

Happy retreating!

xx becca

 

 

I just got this email from a client I worked with in a Foundations Session a few weeks back.

Rebecca,

I’m sitting here in my office writing a blog post about how to make your period less inconvenient (almost every woman that answered my market research survey mentioned inconvenience) and as I detailed the wonders of the Diva Cup I stopped and said out loud to myself “I love this, I fucking love this.” 

And I have you to thank! If it wasn’t for our session which helped me break through the hesitation I had to focus my practice on hormonal and menstrual health I wouldn’t be doing this right now. I’d probably be driving myself crazy as I wrote some stupid blog post on a topic I don’t really care about. If this isn’t the definition of uncaged, I don’t know what is! 

Have a fabulous weekend!

This spunky business owner came to me with some hesitations about putting herself in too narrow of a niche, because she didn’t want to give up the rest of what she liked doing. She was stuck in overwhelm because she didn’t know where to start with creating or writing content, and was instead spending hours tinkering with her website and bio instead of actually doing work that would bring in clients.

And it’s just another reminder of how important it is to NICHE THE FUCK IN.

I know – you don’t want to do it.
I know – it feels scary and like you will be leaving out so many people.
I know – you’re worried you’ll go too narrow and you won’t have enough clients.

And I’m sure I’m not the first one to  tell you that what will happen is the exact OPPOSITE of what you’re worried about.

 

Instead of being confused and overwhelmed with so many ideas,  you’ll have killer focus and be able to create perfect content because you will know exactly who you are talking to, and about what.

Instead of having no clients, clients will come streaming in because they will finally understand what you do and people will be able to easily refer to you.

Instead of wasting hours tinkering with your website, you’ll be able to put that time into marketing that will actually help you get you clients and make you money (because hint: constantly tweaking the sidebar on your site or re-writing your bio a thousand time are NOT client getting actions).

 

This client and I – we had a little chat during our 75min session. We got real about her passions, her business, and what she wants to create. And within minutes it was SO clear what her true niche was. I gave her permission to go for it. She gave herself permission to go for it. And to speak to them in her own voice, HER way, not like all the other health coaches out there.

We took her from a health coach who wanted to “help women integrate modern wellness into their lives” to a health coach who works with women and their vaginas – everything from PCOS, infertility, bad periods, and natural birth control – she’s your girl. How mjuch more clear is that!?

Now to just give her a fun job title like The Vagina Wrangler… KIDDING. Maybe.

Just 2 weeks after our session – she sent me the email above. Psyched about her new direction. Finally able to create content for the people who need her. On her way to the Uncaged business of her dreams.

Your niche is what success is made of, folks. I’ve written about this before, so you might already know that when I say NICHE I don’t mean that one single client avatar that you want to work with. I don’t mean demographics, or even psychographics.

 

Niche, very simply, means what problem do you help people with? What would someone come to you for help with? Specifically.

 

If you’re scared to choose, I would recommend you play with the idea of choosing just temporarily. Create some content and a program just for one part of your business, one problem, and see how it goes. My guess is that months of turning in circles of confusion about what to create will give way to clarity and focus and more clients and more cash coming in.

Try it?

Let me know how it goes.

xo becca

PS. I typically don’t offer Foundations Sessions anymore on an ongoing basis, but I have had a few requests for them lately and have decided to open up 4 of these one-on-one spots over the next few weeks. If you want to get the kind of killer clarity that my vagina-loving client had, hit me up here and let’s do it. Imagine getting crystal clear on your message, niche, elevator pitch, and package ideas as early as next week?! Woop!

I want to share some sneaky sales secrets with you. But not sneaky in a gross scammy kind of way. Sneaky in a “why didn’t I think of that, it’s so smart and also feels really good!” kind of way, that you might not even realize were an option!

Unless you never open my emails (I’m offended!), you probably noticed that I just finished a big launch of Uncage Your Business last month. I sent a lot of emails, did some webinars, posted about it on social media and yammered my mouth off about it in interviews. And I met my sales goals.

Then the launch ended. But I knew that there were still people who didn’t buy who need what I have to offer. So I always do a few things to get more sales and help more people, even after the launch ends. These “tactics” feel really good to me because they are authentic and come from a genuine want to help people (not just tacky ways to get more sales). And I love them because they work whether you sold a shit ton of whatever you were selling, or whether you didn’t make many sales at all.

 

3 ways to sell more:

1. Offer an extended payment plan
People want you to help them (or else they would’t be reading your emails or following your blog). But sometimes money really is a factor. To help you sell more, offer people an extended payment plan. On the last 2 days of the UYB launch, I opened up a 6 month payment option (even though the course is only 5 weeks long) and made 30% of total sales because of it! Giving people a flexible way to pay helps make it a no-brainer to say yes.

 

2. Ask for feedback on why people didn’t buy, then address those objections
You can see how I did this here. I found out why people didn’t buy (it’s anonymous so people can be really honest), and then addresses those objections in an email, and opened the cart again for a limited time. It’s a great way to find out why people aren’t buying from you, and if it turns out your marketing message wasn’t clear, or people were confused about what you were actually selling, it gives you a chance to clarify and hopefully get people in the door once they see that your service IS actually a fit for them.

 

3. Offer a down-sell after your launch is over
For many people, UYB was just too long (didn’t have the time to commit right now) or too expensive for them right now (even with a payment plan). And for some, they only needed part of the content, not all of it. When I learned this, I decided to open a live workshop that teaches JUST the packaging part of the course, because I know there is a good number of people who need just this, and not ALL of UYB (psst – click here if that sounds like you and you want my personal help with your packages). It’s a more affordable option than UYB and lets me still help the people who need help. I might also consider a UYB self-study version in the future for people who just want the content without the group support and the help from me.

 

Whether you sold out, or whether you were left with very few sales and a very sad face, these marketing techniques work because you’re showing people that you are listening to them, which makes them feel heard, and thus trust you more and be more likely to actually buy.

Next time you launch something, whether it’s a huge launch or just an email to your list announcing that you have spots open for a service, try these! And be sure to check in and let me know how they work for you.

xo becca

PS. The packaging workshop downsell is happening next week! If you aren’t selling packages, or don’t have a lot of clients, or only have one way for clients to work with you, this workshop is for you! I’ll teach you my exact process for creating killer packages and programs, and we’ll create yours there on the spot that day. Check it out here.


So DUH – sometimes when you’re in launch mode you can’t see the forest for the trees and you realize after the fact that you kinda left out some key information.
After each Uncage Your Business launch, I always send out an email asking people why they didn’t buy. This is SO helpful to me to understand whether my messaging for the course is coming across clearly, or whether anything was miscommunicated about what the course is or what’s included (and just to stay current with what the Uncaged folks want and need)

I HIGHLY recommend doing this, no matter how big your audience is. If you’re selling something, it’s always a good idea to ask why people didn’t buy to learn how you can better serve your people and to help you better communicate the value of your services. I just use a simple Google form to ask. Then you can easily address those misconceptions in an email (like this one!) or in your general marketing (sales page and emails, or during your launch) to make sure that your message is being heard loud and clear by the people who need you!

So anyway, I was scrolling through the answers (which typically include a lot about no time/ no money), and noticed that there were a few other common misconceptions that people had about the course, so I wanted to touch on those here since I clearly didn’t communicate well somewhere in my marketing!

Because of these misconceptions, I am opening the cart again for Uncage Your Business just for today for anyone who wants to jump in last minute. Click here to join.

Here are some of the reasons you might not have signed up:

NOT FAR ENOUGH ALONG IN BUSINESS

This stood out to me on the feedback because UYB is specifically created for people who aren’t far along in their business!

Specifically people were worried that they didn’t have a website up yet, they didn’t know their niche yet, and they weren’t actually  BUSINESS yet, more like a hobby.

And in my mind I was screaming “But that’s exactly who this is for!”

We had a great launch and exceeded our goals, but I know that there are so many more people who need this that I could have helped, who are missing out because I didn’t communicate well enough!

So instead of feel sad that I missed the mark somehow, I decided to write this email and do something I haven’t done before – open the cart again.

I want to make sure that if you are one of the people who was interested in UYB but worried that you weren’t far enough along, or that you would be behind because you don’t have a niche yet, that you knew that you’d fit right in in the course. MOST of our participants are still narrowing down their niche, most don’t have a website yet, almost all are still working another job or have only been working on their business part time, and NONE have it all figured out yet.

UYB was made specifically to help you! If you WANT to figure it all out and get further along and start running a business instead of a hobby, join us – it’s not too late!

Click here to sign up.

 

IT’S JUST FOR LIFE COACHES

I will admit that I talk a lot about life coaches, because they tend to have the hardest time nailing down the foundations that we work on in UYB. But the course is NOT just for them! It’s for ANY service-based business that you can run at home from your computer with no pants on!

Here are some examples of businesses that I have worked with and that we have in this round of UYB:

– health coaches
– career coaches
– writers
– artists
– energy healers
– marketing consultants
– business strategists
– naturopaths
– therapists
– web designers
– copywriters
– yoga teachers
– professional organizers

+ so many more cool and unique solopreneurs!

If you’re one of these and you know you need help, but you thought UYB was only for life coaches, you can still join us! It’s not too late! Get in here.

 

I DON’T NEED MINDSET COACHING

Sweet – because that’s not what UYB is! UYB is all about actionable marketing and business help – not mindset. In fact I’m pretty clear with my participants that I don’t want to get into all the feelings and fears and self doubt that comes up. My approach is to acknowledge that it’s there, and then operate as if it’s not – what would you do if this wasn’t in the way?

I teach marketing and how to get clients in UYB. I don’t do mindset coaching.

If you thought it was all woo, it’s not, and it’s not too late to join us! Hop in here.

 

WEBSITE GLITCHES

I blame this one on mercury retrograde (and having a hosting company that dropped the ball during the crucial last day of the cart being open!). We had to do a mad dash to change hosting companies mid-launch, because our site wouldn’t even load. Nothing worse than doing a live webinar and having people jonesing to sign up, and having a site that won’t load. Ugh.

If you tried to sign up and the site was broken – we apologize! It is back to normal and you can get in here.

 

We started yesterday and the group is ROCKING so far. Everyone is astounded at how great the feedback has been already and newfound business messages are already starting to take shape for people who have struggled with it for YEARS (and we’re only on day 2).

I’ll be closing the cart back up again tonight at midnight EST so I can focus on the group,  so this is your last last chance to join.

Click here to register for Uncage Your Business tonight before midnight EST.

xo becca

PS. Even if you don’t join, I would HIGHLY encourage you to copy what I have done here – find out right away why people aren’t buying from you, and then address those concerns or objections or misconceptions in an email. Instead of just feeling sad for yourself that no one wants what you have, be proactive and be willing to listen and learn from the people who aren’t purchasing. It can go a long way into bettering your marketing and helping you do better in the future!

Have you ever wondered why you’re just not making money in your business? If you’re not making any money, I’m sure you’ve fallen asleep at night stressing about this.

It shouldn’t be that hard … right? I mean, it DOES take time to make things work, but there are some key things you might be doing wrong (or things you could be doing better) that would help the cause a LOT.

This is your chance to find out what they are and make some small changes that could lead to big results:

Recently I recorded a new video that tells you the reasons why you’re not making money in your biz, and I wanted you to have it because I made it for business owners just like you who are so fucking good at what you do but things just aren’t working.

 

Enter your email here to grab the free training video.






 

Check it out now because if you’re anything like most of my clients, you’ll put it on your to-do list but then get overwhelmed with so much to do and then forget to actually watch it, and then you’ll continue to struggle and that defeats the whole purpose of why I made the damn video!

Enjoy!

xx becca

I know – you were told you needed to blog. And if you want to build your business online and reach people from all over the world – blog you should! But, as with most things in online business, if you’re not doing it strategically, it could be a giant waste of your time. Which is no good, because one of the beauties of having a business is that you should have lots of free time to do fun things with – you don’t want to spend it blogging and not seeing any results.

What usually happens when you’re starting your business is you get super excited about ALL the things you want to share with your audience.  You write epic posts that go into superb detail about your topic and what you think your people need to know. Or you write personal stories about what’s going on in in your life and then try to tie them back into lessons for your audience. Or you stare a blank screen forever and just have no idea what to write, thus wasting time AND still not coming out with a blog post.

None of these are great options. Your blog has multiple purposes, one of which is NOT to write endlessly about the things you are interested in.

 

Your job on your blog is to write about what your audience is interested in, to help them with a problem they have, or to show them what solutions you can offer – in a effort to have them start to like you and trust you and want to buy from you.

 

All of your content should be strategically walking people towards a buying decision.

Sure, it’s great to entertain your readers as well — but if you’re running a business and want people to buy things from you, that will happen a whole lot quicker if you’re strategic with how you put content out into the world.

 

So how do you write content that will help people make buying decisions?

You 1) know who your clients are 2) know what they are struggling with and 3) produce content that directly helps the solve those problems.

It is for sure not rocket science, yet somehow we all seem to mess it up (myself included). I blame this on being to passionate about ALL THE THINGS about your topic that you want to write about everything and you lose sight of what will actually help your clients right here and now, and not having a clear understanding of what will get them to BUY from you.

Not only does this strategy help your clients better, but it helps you plan  your content so much more easily. If you have a launch coming up or are releasing a new service or course, you can strategize all your content to be specifically about that topic, so you warm up your audience before you actually sell them anything. This is how all good launches are run, and without even a complicated launch plan you can still be priming your audience to buy from you.

All with just understanding how to blog and how to create the right content for your people, launches can feel easy, and business starts to be a whole lot more fun when you’re making money :)

If you’ve been blogging and not seeing any results, I’d strongly encourage you to come back to what your clients are struggling with and start writing content that is specifically answering the main questions they have. You’ll notice more engagement from your readers, more emails saying “It’s like you were reading my mind!” and more clients coming in the door.

Blogging is great and helps you learn about your voice and get you used to putting it out into the world, but it’s when you start blogging with strategy that you start actually seeing the results of all your work sitting in front of your laptop!

I teach content strategy in Uncage Your Business, which starts Sept 12 – we put a hard focus on getting clear on who your clients are and what they need, and then learning how to create content and get it out there in front of the right people to get more clients in your virtual door (and more money in your real bank account!).

Click here to learn more about Uncage Your Business.

I hate seeing clients waste time and energy on business-y things that don’t get them anywhere, so please please please remember the PURPOSE of your blogs when you’re writing!

xx becca

PS. If you’ve been blogging (or staring at a blank screen) with no results and need a swift kick of strategy + accountability, make sure to sign up here!

 

One of the biggest struggles many of my clients have is that they feel ready and raring to go – but they have no clients. Womp womp. And it feels like a game of chicken and egg- you kinda need clients in order to get referrals, but you need referrals to have clients. So how do you start?

Whether you have had one client or many clients, your business is going to feel like a hustle to get new clients when you’re just starting. I remember chatting with a fellow coach and while we were super excited about the work we were doing, we were starting to feel frustrated and wondering when the hustle would end. Will it ever end??

I can tell you that it did end, but learning how to get a steady stream of clients is key in your business if you don’t to burn out.

There are a lot of online marketing tactics that I could tell you about that would help you build a solid client base and keep ’em coming for months to come… but they take time to implement and time to actually start working. And my guess is that you need clients right now, not in a few months from now.

I’m all about the slow build and taking the time to build something solid and sustainable – but I’m also all about paying your rent and being able to eat and stuff. So here’s what I recommend for getting clients right NOW in your business, while you work on the more sustainable methods in the meantime.

It’s called the friends and family email. And it’s by far the easiest way to get new clients quickly in your business if you don’t have an email list yet.

Send out an email to everyone you know – friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, old boyfriend (ok maybe not that one), and let them know what you’re doing, who your work is for, and give them one thing to do at the end of the email (either reply back to work with you, or forward the email to a friend who they think would be a good fit, etc).

If you want clients, getting your name out there is key. And the reason this works is because the people you’re emailing already know you (and hopefully like you), so you remove that barrier that tends to exist when you’re trying to reach cold leads. They already trust you. WIN!

I know many people who have tried this method and it didn’t help them get any clients – and that’s usually because of a few possible reasons:

  1. They were too vague about what they do
  2. They were too vague about who it is for
  3. They didn’t make a clear ask or offer at package to sell at the end.

If you’re not ridiculously specific in this email, no one will bite and you’ll be left feeling defeated.  So this method hinges on you being able to very clearly articulate all the things about your business. If you can’t do that yet, we’re spending September working on it – join us? Honestly, I don’t even recommend trying this friend and family email technique if you a’re super clear, because you will be wasting your one chance to reach out to everyone – no one wants to get an email now and then another one a few months later when you’ve finally gotten more clear – you have one shot to wow them!

 

Here’s the exact email that I use and that I recommend my clients use:

 

Greeting:

Hey ______,

Intro:

Open the email with something personal if it’s someone you know well, like you would for a regular email to a good friend. If you don’t know the person SUPER well, skip this and include a more general greeting that still sets the tone (“We may not have talked in a long time but I value the work you do and knew you’d be excited to hear what I’m up to — or something that makes them feel valued and not like you’re just trying to get something from them)

Explain why you are emailing them:

I’m writing because I’m so excited that I’m doing ________ (ie. starting my new business/launching my website/am leaving my job to join the circus etc) and wanted to make sure you knew about it (and ask for your help — see below!)

Elaborate on what you’re doing:

Give them a bit more detail about this thing you are doing and show them how excited you are about it (I’ve been dreaming of starting this business for a long time and it’s finally happening; I’m finishing up my training as a _____ and graduate next week; I know it took me a while to get to where I wanted to be, but it finally feels like I’ve arrived).

Explain how you help people/results:

Give them some detail about what you do for people/ what problems you can help with. You want to make sure that you are VERY clear about who you help and how you help them. Keep this short and sweet and to the point.

The Ask:

Let them know again that you are taking on clients how many people you’re taking and how long the commitment is (ie. “I am taking on 10 clients for 30min coaching sessions”, or “I have 3 spots open for my month-long group program” and would love your help in finding new clients/would love to work with you on helping you ______). Be CLEAR here that you have limited spots open and what exactly you are “selling” to them.

If the person you are writing to is an ideal client, ask them to be your client! I know this can be scary, but remember – courage. Tell them why you think they would be a perfect fit for them.

If the person isn’t your ideal client, tell them why you are asking them “I thought you might have some people in mind from the yoga studio you work at, or “I know you work in an environment where a lot of people might struggle with _______ so I thought you might be able to pass this on for me”

Call to action:

End with a clear call to action (“If this feels like a fit, I’d love to work with you. Click here to schedule a call to talk more about it” or “Reply to this email to book yourself in for a chat to talk more”, or “I’d be so appreciative if you could help forward this to 3 people you know who might be a fit”). Be sure to only include ONE action step. If the person you are writing to isn’t an ideal client themselves, asking them to pass it on to 3 people, or post on their Facebook page, is a great call to action.

Closing:

Sign off with a HUGE thank you.

Add a PS:

If you’re not my ideal person here, I’d love for you to forward this on to anyone you know who might be a fit. I’m so grateful to you for your support in this. It means a lot to me.

Again, this ONLY works if you can be super specific and clear about who you service, what your message is, and can articulate exactly how you can help people. We focus on these foundations in Uncage Your Business, so if you know that you aren’t nearly confident enough in what you do, I seriously encourage you to sign up – you will leave absolutely prepared to start getting clients right away (and many people actually get their first clients during the course).

We start soon. Click here to be notified when the cart opens and get access to early bird discounts.

xo becca

If you’re following any business coaches online, I am sure you have heard all kinds of different advice about niching.

You DO need a niche.

You DON’T need a niche.

And lots of different tips and techniques for how to actually define your niche (from customer avatar exercises to choosing a demographic to just working with everyone and letting your niche find you). And all of these can kinda work.

But even if you have tried one or all of these, it probably still feels hard. Because you have a big heart and big skills and you don’t want to exclude anyone from the help you have to offer. And at the same time you know you need to get more specific, but just randomly choosing something feels so artificial and inauthentic. But you still know you need to get more clear. BUT HOWWW??

So I wanted to help make is SUPER simple for you. Because one of my superpowers in business is making it feel easy and do-able (my Uncage Your Business clients literally tell me this all the time).

 

My take on niche is simple. Forget avatars. Forget ideal client. Forget age ranges and demographics. Focus on PROBLEMS.

 

To me, your niche is the PROBLEM you solve. I love this approach because it lets you work with all kinds of different people, but still with a clear focus. Lots of different people of different ages and from different places and of different lifestyles can have the same kinds of problems – and you can help ALL of them.

Phew. Sigh of relief right?

Now of course, you might not WANT to help all of them, and this is where getting more clear on your ideal client can be helpful. But you don’t NEED to do that, at least not right away.

When you can focus on the problem that you help people with you can start to understand where to find your clients, you make it easy to get referrals, and you can work to create great packages and programs just for them. All without ever doing a client avatar exercise.

HALLEFUCKINGLUJAH, right?

It can be that simple, if you let it. Give yourself permission to drop the obsession with niche and start focusing on problems, and see what changes. I’d love to hear.

xx becca

PS. If you know you need to define your niche and you want to get super specific and clear about what problems you solve, and for who, and learn how to put together packages just for them, we do all of that plus a crap ton more in Uncage Your Business. Doors open again spring 2017.

 

If you have been working away at building your business online, you’ve probably noticed that everyone everywhere is telling you what you need to make your business work. Everyone wants to give you their two cents about what worked for them and what you should try and how you can make it happen.

The problem is that different things work for different people depending on your business, your strengths, and what you already have in place in your business.

However, there are some things that you need to have in your business no matter where you are or what your business is, that will almost be guaranteed to help your business succeed. Here’s are the top 3 things I think every business owner should have:

 

1. A positive mindset

Yeah, it sounds cliche. But if you’re constantly freaking out about money and sure that your business is doomed and you let every little “failure” get to you, I can almost guarantee that you will give up before you even get over the hump. Staying open to the idea that it might take longer than you’d like, embracing the ups and downs and taking a lesson from each one will help make sure you’re always growing and moving forward. Even if nothing is working, it’s all important to keep track of because it’s helping you have a better understanding of what’s working for YOU in YOUR business, and will help you make decisions in the future. A “woe is me, business is hard, it’s never going to work, I must just suck” mindset will get you nowhere. If you find yourself getting down about it all, you need to get yourself into a mastermind or peer coaching/accountability group asap where you can get the support you need to keep on keeping on.

 

2. A clear niche

I know it’s annoying to hear, but if you want to sell anything, you need to be mega clear on who you’re selling to. This is one of the first things we work on with my clients in my foundational course Uncage Your Business and it changes everything for them. Taking the time here to get specific about what your services are and narrowing in on your target market will make everything a bajillion times easier.  Some people will  tell you that you don’t need a niche, but every business has a niche! It doesn’t mean you have to get super narrow and specific about the tiny group of people that you are selling to, but it does mean that you need to know what problem you solve CLEARLY and who has that problem and where to find those people. Once you know that, it becomes much easier to apply all the marketing knowledge you learn from everyone on the internet.

 

3. Sales skills

No matter what you are selling, you have to sell. When people say “if someone wanted to buy it, they would, I don’t want to hassle them about it” I cringe. Sure, we don’t want to be dicks about it. But it’s part of your job to help someone understand why they should buy, and why they should buy from you specifically. You’re not trying to convince someone to buy something they don’t need, but you are trying to show the that what you have can improve their life and get them excited about giving you their money. This is a process and happens from the time they land on your website to the time you chat with them on the phone to the time they click the ‘buy now’ button. And you need to understand the whole process and more importantly, feel GOOD about it. if you feel icky about selling and don’t want to bother anyone and shy away from hopping on sales calls, you need to get over it and learn how to do it with integrity right away. I took a course on selling and it was FANTASTIC and I highly recommend it and send all my clients to it if I hear they are having trouble making conversions and getting sales. It’s run by Kendrick Shope who is known for overdelivering her pants off, and it will change your business. She’s one of the few people that I trust when she says she WILL actually help you make more money in your business. You can check out her course here — highly recommended.

** I’m an affiliate for Sales School because I looove it. I love it and believe in it so much that if you do want to join, I want to give you my course Hey, Nice Package! for free. It’s much much easier to sell when you have clear packages to sell people on, and I want to make sure you get the most out of Sales School so I’m giving this away to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Just use this link to buy and I’ll make it happen.

 

When you have a great mindset, a clear niche, and the skills that pay the bills, your business had a far more likely chance of making it over the hump and actually being a real thing (as opposed to being a nice hobby or side job that never really moves beyond that). Sure, there are probably other things you need as well, but these three are absolutely foundational to success. Once you have those, then you can get all fancy and start learning other things!

I’d love to hear where you’re at with these! Pop any questions in the comments and share your experiences with us!

 

xx becca

 

PS. If you’re curious what else I recommend focusing on for new business owners , be sure to grab my free 3-month checklist here to help you stay on track. You can download it for free here.

 

If you’re new-ish to online business, you’re probably stressing out because you’re seeing all these amazing looking courses and programs and coaches and resources and tools and apps online that everyone is telling you that you ABSOLUTELY need if you EVER want to have a successful business. You will fail unless you spend $1000000 on your business on all these things.

Except that’s not true! You don’t need to buy all the things! I am all for investing in your business, but I see too many people signing up for courses and classes that just aren’t right for where they are in business. And sometimes, you don’t actually need to invest – you need to just hunker down and do the work.

 

Here are my recommendations for what to focus on and what to invest in depending on where you are in business:

 

First to second year of business / not making any money yet:

This is the experimentation stage of your biz. You will try a whole bunch of different things and a lot of it won’t stick. THAT’S GREAT! It’s part of the process.

Start by downloading all the free stuff you can get your hands on. Every business coach offers a freebie in exchange for your email address, and they are usually (at least we hope!) packed full of valuable business help. Download them all!

You can grab mine here (it’s a plan for what you should be doing in your first 3 months of business). If you’ve downloaded it before, I’d encourage you to look at it again and see where you are on the timeline. It’s a handy tool to come back to so you don’t get off course!

The other thing I recommend getting help with after you have worked with a few practice clients or have tested the waters in a few different areas is nailing down your niche and your message. These are foundational to everything else you do in your business, and many business courses assume you already know these. That’s why a lot of people get stuck in courses – they buy a course that teaches them marketing techniques before they are clear on what they are actually doing and what their focus in in their business! Don’t let this happen to you!

Click here for more info about Uncage Your Business, a course that was created exactly for this reason.

 

Second year of business or more / have focus but not bringing in enough clients

This is a GREAT stage to be in because it means the initial discomfort of not knowing what the hell you’re doing is over, and you can focus on making all dat money. But how??

Well – learning about marketing funnels and list building is  GREAT one.  If you have no one seeing your offers, how do you expect anyone to buy them?

My friend Halley is awesome at this – you can check her out here.

If you are getting a lot of people saying “Wow, I love what you do, I need that!”, and then never calling you, or people who do a free consult with you or who you have a conversation with about working together, and then they never actually sign on, then you need sales help my friend. And you need it from the one and only Southern Belle Kendrick Shope who knows her shit and will help you close deals easily without feeling like a douche.

Kedrick’s Sales School program is the best I’ve seen about how to get confident talking about sales, doing phone calls with prospective clients, following up, and getting a YES (and their $$) an in a way that holds your integrity and has clients feeling excited and not sold to. Check it out here.

By knowing what you need help with you can be sure to not waste any money in your business. Do your homework – ask questions to make sure what you’re buying is right for you, read testimonials, and take some time to be sure that the programs you’re signing up for are the right ones, and now just shiny objects that you’re buying because of FOMO.

xx becca

 

You know what sucks? Not having any clients.

I remember when I started my business, there were times in the first 2 years where my current clients would phase out, and I’d have NO new clients on deck, and I felt like my business was a complete failure. Because what the hell is a coaching business with no clients? It’s a sucky business, that’s what it is.

If this sounds like you, there’s probably one KEY thing that’s stopping you from actually getting clients.

SELLING.

Sales are a funny thing. None of us want to do it, but our businesses require it. Selling plays into everything that you do in your business, from your website copy to your client interactions on social media. And if you suck at selling, you don’t have a business.

What I tried – coaching people for free

I tried a few things to get new clients and work on my sales when my business was just getting off the ground, and I thought it would be useful to share with you what I did and why it didn’t work, in case you’re in the same boat.

One thing I tried when my business was in suck-ville was doing free coaching calls with potential clients (sometimes called “discovery sessions” in the coaching world). I’d hop on the phone with them for free, and coach them, and it was awesome. Until that awkward moment at the end of the call when I’d have to transition into being like “Soooooo, how’s about you start paying me for this? Whaddya say?” and they got all awkward because they just wanted the free coaching and had no intention of hiring me. #wompwomp

Why this didn’t work and what to do instead

It was totally unclear to ME whether this was a consult, or a free session, or both. I just assumed if they wanted free coaching they were probably also interested in working together. Don’t slather your “free session” button all over your website either. If someone is interested in working together and reaches out, THEN you can tell them that you do free sessions and offer them one. And if you’re offering free coaching, for the love of god, don’t try to sell them anything at the end. No one likes a freebie with a catch. Keep it free and coach the crap out of them so they have no choice but fall in love and want to work with you.

What I tried – Free Consult Calls To See If We Were A Fit

I stopped that whole free session shit pretty early on in my business, and started only doing consults with people who expressed interest in hiring me. Instead of me coaching them, we’d talk about whether we were a fit to work together, which involved talking about… well… that was the problem. I had no fucking idea what I was supposed to do on these consults calls and every time someone signed up for one I’d be terrified and want to crawl under my bed and “accidentally” miss the call (cuz that’s realllly good for business folks).

If I wasn’t coaching, what exactly was I supposed to do? These call would usually consist of the person telling me it was too expensive/they didn’t have time,and I would say “Ok, maybe next time” and leave it at that. Again, NOT great for getting new business.

Why this didn’t work and what to do instead

Again, it was super unclear to both me and my clients whether this was a free call or a consult or why they should be signing up in the first place. Half of them wanted free coaching and half had so many objections to working together that I was totally unprepared to deal with. If you want to offer consults, ONLY offer them to clients who are interested. You can do this by only putting the “sign up for a consult” link at the very bottom of your sales page, so that they have to read the whole page and they can clearly see that the consult is ONLY for people who are interested and that it’s NOT free coaching). And on these calls, don’t coach! This is not a call where you are giving them free help – you are discussing what you will be doing with them in your work together and answering any questions they have. By all means, you can end the call with a next step for them to help them out, but be clear that this is a consult and not a freebie.

What FINALLY worked for me

Two words – Kendrick Shope. I met this super Southern, red-headed firecracker who was running a course called Sales School that, magically, promised to help with exactly what I was struggling with — lots of client interest, but no one saying YES to putting their money where their mouth is.

I had seen Kendrick around, mostly on her blog where she posted videos every Tuesday where she sang a (kind of annoying) jingle at the start of every video, and even though I had to fast forward through the start of her videos (Sorry Kendrick, it just wasn’t my bag!), she always had awesome tips, so I kept watching, and thank GOD I did.

Kendrick’s sales methods seriously changed my business. The way she teaches selling is GOLD and as soon as I started doing consults her way, I felt more confident (yay), but I ALSO started having almost every potential client say YES to working with me. That’s a huge fucking win!

Here’s some of the specific selling tools I learned from Sales School that I still use everyday in my business:

  • The BIG difference between a consult and a free session (with scripts for each one so you never flounder with what to say and you nail it every single time)
  • How to follow up with clients in a way that worked (instead of the usual “So, just checking to see if you wanted to work together” emails I was sending before)
  • How to deal with the “I can’t afford” it objection in a way that felt in integrity (and worked!)
  • How to drastically improve the amount of responses I got to my market research

Hello BUSINESS. Finally.

What I LOVE about Kendrick is that she gives everything to her clients – she’s 100% got your back when you work with her and she’s the queen of over-delivering. I have learned a lot from her over the years about how to create clients that fall in love and keep coming back for more, and a huge part of my success with Uncaged is a direct results of working with and learning from Kendrick.

Registration Opens Today
Sales School is opening again today, so if you’re someone who gets a lot of client interest and gets muddled between consults and free calls, feels like selling is gross or you get nervous talking to potential clients because you don’t feel confident selling, or you have clients say they can’t afford it and you don’t know how to respond to that – or basically any other problem that you have with selling and converting potential clients to PAYING clients – this is the program for you. I’m an affiliate or the program but even before K had an affiliate program, I was hustling as best as I could for her. Because her shit WORKS and changed my business and will change yours.

AND AS A BONUS — I’m giving away Hey, Nice Package to anyone who registers through Sales School using this affiliate link. Because Kendrick and I both agree that selling is WAY harder when you don’t have a great package to sell, and I don’t want you stumbling in SS just because you haven’t sorted out your packages yet. Use this link and I’ll send you over Hey Nice Package so you can get started!

Who is Sales School NOT for
I am always telling my clients to go work with Kendrick after they work with me, because it’s the logical next step in my opinion. But if you’re NOT yet clear on what your message is, who your niche is, or what exactly you’re selling, Sales School wont help you, so be sure that you’re absolutely clear on your foundations before diving in. This program has a ridiculous amount of value, but ONLY when you’re ready for it and at the right place in your business – it’s not meant for brand new businesses who are still wishy washy about what they want their business to be.

Selling should feel FUN in your business, and as someone who used to FEAR getting on the phone with potential clients you can take it from me – this is a skill you need to master if you ever want to be profitable in your business.

Even if Sales School isn’t for you right now, I would HIGHLY recommend getting clear on your client intake process – do you need to have a consult? An application? Do you have a system for followup for interested clients? These are the small things that will make or break your selling process (and thus your business).

Happy selling everyone, and if you have any questions about my experience in Sales School just hit reply. I’m more than happy to share!

xo becca

Building your business doesn’t have to take forever and doesn’t have to be so harrrrrrd. But many of my clients have already taken SO many other courses and worked with coaches and they’re still getting nowhere. So they’re skeptical that yet another course is their answer. So I wanted to answer this and other common questions I get about Uncage Your Business here, in case you’re on the fence and want to better understand what UYB is and what it isn’t to make the right decision for YOU.

 

FAQS I get asked about Uncage Your Business:

I’ve already taken courses like B-School.  Will I still learn something new in Uncage Your Business?

YES. Times a thousand. The reason is that UYB focuses on entirely different content than B-School. B-School is an online marketing course. But online marketing is HELLA HARD if you aren’t clear on what your business is, what your message is, who your clients are, what you should be selling, and what makes your business YOURS and not anyone else’s. It’s very difficult to implement even the best marketing materials when you’re not solid and clear and confident in your business. That is what UYB will get you, and most grads of the program say that all the how-to marketing stuff that felt confusing before UYB is suddenly SO much easier, so they are seeing a return on investment for the first time from some of the other courses they have taken. That’s a pretty big win.

This is what one UYBer had to say about this: I bought B-School first and found Becca through B-School. I really really really wish I had found Becca first – B-School would have been way easier to implement once I was clear on what my business actually was! I am now going to do B-School all over again now that everything Becca helped me with is super clear and solid.”

 

How many hours a week should I expect to spend on UYB?

I asked this question to all previous UYBers and the range they gave was from 3-10 hours a week. It all depended on how much time they had to give and how much they wanted to hustle during the month. That being said, MANY of the have said that they continue to come back to the UYB materials way after the course is done, so it really is the gift that keeps on giving for your business.

 

I have a product based business – is this still for me?

Ok so UYB is mainly focused at service based businesses and some of the material won’t apply (creating packages and services for example). But messaging and getting focus and a month of hustle is still all applicable. If you wanna let me know more specifically what you need help with I can tell you whether UYB makes sense or not – email us at hello@theuncagedlife.com! I have had several product based businesses go though UYB and still rave about it, so it really depends on what you need help with, but I am very open about the fact that when it comes to marketing, niching, and packaging, my expertise is in the coaching/service-based business world!

 

Why do I need the group? Can’t we just do this one-on-one?

No. The group is a crucial part of this program. In fact, almost ALL the feedback I get when I chat with folks after they do UYB is that they WAY underestimated the value and power of the group. Past groups have formed lifelong masterminds, friendships, and business partnerships. These are your people. And while my coaching and expertise is top-notch, there is nothing like having a fan club supporting you and cheering you on as you Uncage your business. The other amazing part about the group is that you get to see that EVERYONE has the same fears, doubts, and worries. And everyone is DOING IT ANYWAY. The group is such a huge part of UYB (and in fact, of any business. No one can do this alone!). Plus, my one-on-one consulting rates start at $1800, and with UYB you get a whole month of me for much, much less.

 

I can’t be on any of the calls! Should I still sign up?

Absolutely. You have full access to all the content (which is $$$ value) and the group, and you will get all the call recordings.  You will be amazed at how much even just listening to other people get coached can help you in your own business, since many people are coming to the program with similar problems. I have had people tell me that even though they didn’t show up to a single call or use the FB group at all, this was still the best thing they have ever done for their business.

 

What if I don’t know what my business is going to be yet? Should I still sign up.

No, please don’t. Uncage Your Business requires that you have at least an idea of what your business is, and that you are ready to CHOOSE that business and get to work. We don’t work on helping you decide what business is right for you in the course. For example, if you are working full time and have been following Uncaged for a while and you know you want to have your own business but not sure if it should be doing marketing, or life coaching, or running an Etsy shop, or starting an organic farm – you will need to decide on that before you sign up.

Alternatively, let’s say you’re a life coach, and you have done life coach training, and even though you are super vague on your niche in coaching and you can’t really describe what you do, you still know you want to coach and are willing to take action even without full clarity – UYB will help  you. If you’re not sure, reach out to us at hello@theuncagedlife.com.

 
What changes did you make to the course?
 
If you have been around the Uncaged group for a while, you may have seen me talking about the changes I made to UYB. These changes came about after 3+ years of running the program, and me continuously adding bonus material based on what I saw my clients were needing along the way. It eventually became messy, having so much extra content but not having it built into the core curriculum, so I decided to revamp the entire course and built it in right from the start. This means that the course has moved from have a strong coaching focus, to a strong content focus – which I am personally excited about for a few reasons. 1 – the content is designed to be extremely actionable and easy to follow, so you are actually doing the work in your business as the course goes along – not just gathering a bunch of nice ideas to use later, and 2 – I have found that the clients who don’t need as much hand holding and coaching, and who are ready for someone to just tell them what to do so they can DO it, are the ones who have had the most success. My expertise is in marketing and online business, and even though I am a trained life coach, I find that it’s not the best use of my talents. So I’ve decided to take a lot of the coaching out of the program and focus instead just on pure, actionable content and teaching – so that YOU can get even better results, faster.

I also paid close attention over the years and learned exactly what my clients wanted and needed after UYB was over – and I built it into the course as bonus materials.

 

If you have any other questions that haven’t been addressed here or on the sales page – EMAIL US!!!! We are nice and want to help you spend your money in the right place and promise not to BS you – hello@theuncagedlife.com

Know you want in?

Click here to sign up.

Looking forward to helping you Uncage your business in April!

 

xo becca  

PS. If you are Canadian, email us. We have something for you.

Lemme guess. You’re SO psyched about starting your new business and you’re totally ready to go. You start thinking about logo design, and tag lines, and websites. In fact, you’re OBSESSED over logo design, and taglines, and websites. You feel like this is the obvious first step.

Nevermind that you’re totally stuck with the rest of your business. You don’t know what to write about on your blog, or how to position yourself, or how to explain what you actually sell. You’re writing and re-writing all  your content because you’re not sure if it sounds right.

And you have about 10 potential taglines that you could use, and you’re obsessed with choosing the perfect one, and it’s stressing the crap out of you. In fact, you’re in tagline choosing hell and it’s holding you back from doing anything else in your business (been there – I spent months agonizing over the perfect logo and tagline, and it totally held me back from actually moving forward with my business. I even went to far as to pay for logo design and business cards for a business I didn’t even really have yet. I figured that was how to start a business. I was dead wrong).

So I’ll get right to the point.

You likely need to back it up a lot.

 

Unless your business is super solid and you are crystal clear on what you do, who you work with, and how you do it, any efforts to build a website or come up with a great logo are a massive waste of your time.

 

Here’s why: Whatever you create won’t mean anything to anyone unless you are clear. You will end up creating a run of the mill website in a sea of other run of the mill websites, and no one will find you, or give a damn. Not to be mean… but it’s kinda how the internet works.

But the good news is that if you just slow it down a little, you can get the clarity you need to move forward confidently with your new website.

Here are the pieces you MUST be clear on before you can create anything in your business, especially a website:

WHAT you do.

WHO you do it for.

HOW you do it.

Until you know these 3 things inside and out, you’ll be hard pressed to have anything in your business feel easy.

 

WHAT you do:

Literally, what do you do? If you’re a coach, saying ‘I coach people” isn’t enough. What problem do you solve? What do you offer people that they can’t get somewhere else? This is where you get to blend all your past expertise and training with what you really LOVE and care about, and smash it all up into something that actually helps people achieve some kind of result. Make it tangible and easy to understand. Don’t say things like “I empower people to live their most authentic lives”. What the hell does that really mean anyway? Being specific and clear is the key to creating website content that people actually pay attention to. Make sure you talk about tangible results that real people can identify with.

WHO you do it for:

Your ideal clients – who are they? And more important, what do they need from you? You need to get all up into their heads and get clear on what they are wanting in regards to whatever problem you are solving for them. When you do this, you’re able to get super clear on your website and in your tagline, because you can speak directly to this person instead of having to guess about what they want to see. Don’t go around saying you can help everybody. No one will listen. And trust me, you don’t want to help everyone. Be picky and let yourself ONLY work with the people that excite you. Rule everyone else out. Yes, it means you might lose potential clients, but it will pay off by getting you known for what you do among your target group of people. Be specific about WHO your people are, and them market directly to them. It sounds basic, but it’s probably the one thing that will make writing for your website SO much easier. In fact, it will make EVERYTHING in your business so much easier.

HOW you do it:

What methods do you use to help people with their problems? How do you get them from where they are to where they want to be? I love the analogy of a bicycle wheel. If you picture a wheel, you have your WHAT/WHY at the hub. The bigger picture message that you give a crap about. The thing that you help people with. And then you have all the spokes that radiate out from the center hub. These are all the ways you work with people and bring your message to the world. There could be an infinite number of ways, but I’d recommend you choose just a few to start with. Do you coach? Do you lead retreats? Do you teach? Do you sell things? Be clear about exactly how you work with people to get them their results, and your job will be SO much easier because people will actually understand what you do.

If you’re doing it all backwards and trying to build a website before you have clarity, you’re wasting your time and money. This is a challenge for coaches in particular, because we go through coaching school thinking our business will be “coaching”, when in fact coaching isn’t really a business in and of itself at all. If you’re a coach and you’re like “What the hell does she mean? What am I supposed to do then!?”, you might want to check this out.

And for everyone else – I urge you to get clear before you jump into business training and business building. It’s the only way you will actually create something that gets noticed.

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PS. I teach a class called Uncage Your Business that helps you solve all of this (including how to package it all up and create killer content that gets you clients) – click here to learn more. We start in September!

We have all seen it (and let’s be honest, we’re all sick of it). The vague, wishy washy, “sounds nice but I’d never buy it” kind of offers. The ones promising you authenticity, your best life and business, that promise to help you thrive, or raise your vibration, or find vitality, or claiming they will help you leap over the hurdles in your business (and life!),  help give you energy for new possibilities. And so on.

Hell, you might even be sick of your OWN packages and descriptions of your services (you wouldn’t be the only person reading this who feels that way). And being sick of your own work is NOT good for business.

So how to we clear away all the clutter and actually offer results that will get clients to say YES?

 

Here are a few super simple steps:

 

1. Know your client

And I don’t mean in a “what kind of shoes do they wear and what’s their favorite magazine” kind of way. If you want to sell services, you need to know specifically what your clients are struggling with. And more than that, you need to understand exactly what is going through their head at the moment they decide not to put up with _______ (whatever their struggle is right now) anymore, and they decide to hire you or someone like you. And I mean specifics here. Not just general “they aren’t happy with their life” statements, but clear, tangible examples of exactly what they are feeling, thinking, wanting, fearing, and dreaming of. Knowing this is the only way you will ever sell anything to anyone, so start paying attention! If you don’t understand your client, you’re already screwed.

 

2. Create clear packages from the get-go

Sounds like a no-brainer, but one of the main reasons that people can’t describe what they are selling, is because they don’t KNOW what they are selling. If you can’t clearly tell me the MAIN problem that your package or program helps people with, you’re already on a losing track. You can’t help every client with everything that was ever wrong with them, in one package. You need to break up your work and your focus for each offer, and give each one a clear outcome. This is a baseline from which all of your selling will stem, so you need to get this part right. Your packages will be based on what you learn from your clients struggles, fears, wants, needs, desires etc etc, so this step is essentially taking what they have told you, and the turning it into different packages. This basically means your clients are doing the work for you of helping you figure out your packages – pretty sweet right?

 

3. Write your sales page the way your clients talk

Are your clients coming to you saying “I just want to feel vibrant and live my best life!” or “I wish I could leap over the hurdles in my business and life and finally open the door of possibility in my business!”.

#unlikely

They are more likely saying “I’m sick of waking up feeling like shit and not doing anything about it – I am ready to get my ass in gear and fit back into those damn skinny jeans”, or “This business shit is HARD and I don’t get it and I wish someone would just tell me exactly what I need to do to make some damn money”.

^ So that is what you sell them. EXACTLY that. Not that sprinkled with “best life” and “most vibrant self”. Just that. And you will feel like you are leaving out SO much of your message and your viewpoints and to that I say LET IT GO. Because you can either spend years trying to sell people something they don’t think they need, or you can cut to the chase, let go of  some of the touchy-feels you have about it, and sell them what they want.

 

And that there folks, is how to get and keep clients and build a profitable business. Is it simplified? Yes. But it is the foundation of everything and without it, you will be hard pressed to get anywhere. Forget social media. Forget list building. Forget webinars. If you can’t do the 3 things above, nothing else you do will matter. And this is where I see so many new businesses wasting time trying to do everything, and then nothing works.

Choose focus. Choose clarity. Choose to do things differently, and your business will thank you.

xx becca

PS. My signature course Uncage Your Business  is where it’s at for learning ALL of this. It’s your chance to commit to doing what it takes to actually get some damn clients in the door and your business off the ground.
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You’re going to hear me talk a LOT about the F word lately (no not fuck, but I’m certainly not afraid to talk about that one too).

FOCUS.

It’s what most flailing businesses are lacking, and it’s one of the most important things that will make the difference between you getting clients (and thus making money and enjoying life). It’s also the core of what I help my clients with in Uncage Your Business in order to help them get more clients.

But it’s kind of vague, right? Focus. That could mean having a plan. Or doing one thing at a time. Or choosing a really specific niche area. Or all of those things.

And because being fuzzy about these concepts helps you NOT AT ALL, I want to give you some concrete examples of what focus looks like. Because you can see it when a business has it. And your clients will notice it when you have it.

When I started getting really focused in my business, my blog readers would email me telling me how I was nailing it with every piece of content, and how all my programs spoke to them. My client list filled, and my peers started being able to refer me more easily, and basically everything got a helluva lot easier.

In the work that I do with my clients, we put a hard focus on getting clear on their business foundations – what they do, who they help, how they help, how to sell it, and exactly how to talk about all of this in a way that is marketable. This is focus. Most clients come to me with a swirly mess of (mostly) great ideas. They have a passion, and a drive, but they cannot for the life of them sort out how to boil it all down into a clear business that reaches the right people and has them say yes to buying. So I help them do that.

CLIENT CASE STUDIES

Here are some real client case studies to show you what it looks (or rather, sounds) like when you have focus. These, along with a plethora of other focus areas, were developed after just 75mins of working together.

Before having focus:
I help people who feel like they’re hiding their most amazing self at work or need help discovering their inner superhero. My goal is to help people choose careers or start a biz that is going to boost their super powers not stifle them.
After having focus:
I help people quit crappy jobs that they don’t love and find work that is fulfilling and that makes them happy.
Before having focus:
I help women become more confident by tuning into their intuition and embody their values. I’m in the business of epiphanies and re-tuning minds to help people live the life they desire.
After having focus:
I work with women who try to eat healthy but beat themselves up when they “slip” and eat crap – and they are tired of always stressing over food, not to mention they feel like they are missing out on the FUN of food.

 

Before having focus:
I help women raise their energetic vibration in the world and claim a deep feeling of energy, clarity, vitality and confidence, using whole, nutrient-dense foods and the practices of mindfulness, gratitude, compassion and connection.
After having focus:
I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and feel like they have no willpower around food that they know isn’t good for them. I help them sort of rewire and reprogram those patterns so they can really feel calm and in control, so it becomes easy to resist that box of Halloween candy in the cupboard or those donuts in the meeting room at work.

 

Before having focus:
I help women who are just starting out in their online business to leap over the hurdles (real and in your head) so they can grow a thriving business that financially supports their dreams.
After having focus:
I help business owners create a solid content and list building strategy so they can reach clients faster – no more messing around with no results!

 

WHY IS THE AFTER SO EFFECTIVE

I would be willing to bet that everyone reading this can think of at least ONE person they have ever met in their lives who needs help with exactly the ‘after’ is saying. The ‘before’? Maybe, or maybe not so much. It’s not that the ‘before’ is bad, or not accurate. It’s just that it’s not messaged in a way that resonates with exactly what people need.

The difference to me is that the ‘before’ elicits a “sounds nice” or “that’s interesting” response – still nice responses, but not ones that have clients open up their wallets. Whereas the ‘after’ is a clear “OMG YES I NEED THAT HERE IS ALL MY MONEY” response, or at least a “I know someone who needs you!” response.

And that’s because we took the time to really drill down exactly, who they help, how they help, and how their clients are seeing their problems. And EVERYTHING you do from there on in your business hinges on those things.

And, a not-so-secret parter-in-crime to this kind of focus is the CONFIDENCE that comes with being able to finally articulate what you do and feel sure that you can actually help your clients (and the excitement that comes with finally being able to tell people about your business!). No more trying to help everyone or fix everything about them. Focus means you can be selective with how you work, so that you are only doing what you love and what you are good at. And when you combine that kind of excitement with being able to clearly articulate what you do, sparks fly. People buy. And business takes off.

Focus changes everything. And that’s everything.
xx becca

 

PS. I teach a course called Uncage  Your Business that walks you through allll of this (plus more!). Click here to find out more about how we can work together and get you on your way to this kind of focus!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it really takes to build a successful business and what you need to do to get clients. Because that’s really what makes a business successful right? Is that you have clients, that are right for you, that you help, and that pay you (and well).

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the advice out there about what it really takes to build this kind of successful business.

And both of those things? Are vastly different.

The main problem I see is that there is so much advice (TOO much advice) about how to do it. And so many courses. So many many courses. Courses that cost $2k, courses that claim to be the be-all end-all solution, and courses that sit on your shelves for years without ever actually helping you. And it’s not that any of the advice or courses is bad. All of them may very well help you build your business. However, with no clear plan or discernment for when or how to use it – no focus – that’s when it doesn’t work.

Because hello! Overwhelm!

 

If you think I built my business by doing all the things, you would be wrong. And if you think you can build your business by just randomly trying all the things, you’d also be wrong.

 

Because it’s just not possible. It’s not possible to be on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest, and Periscope, and Blab, and LinkedIn, while running your own webinars, and JV webinars, and running Facebook ads, and blogging, and creating your elevator pitch, and going to local networking events, and working on your website, and starting a Facebook group, and getting your opt-in up, and guest posting, and starting a podcast, and and and….

STOP.

There is NO fucking way. If you’re in the new-er stages of business, you don’t need to do half that crap! And, dare I say, most of it will be useless if you aren’t yet clear on what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it, with the kind of clarity that makes people’s skin tingle when you talk about it. This is what I teach my clients in Uncage Your Business, my 5 week online marketing course – and I can tell you after running it for 3 years with hundreds of clients – it works. My clients actually have businesses that feel like businesses when I’m done with them.

Here’s what I believe: I believe these tactics and courses can work in isolation for very specific purposes. If you need to build your list, there are strategic actions you can take. If you want to do speaking gigs, there are strategic actions you can take. And if you want to get more clients, there are strategic focused actions you can take. And they all hinge on building a solid foundation.

 

Trying to do everything will get you exactly nowhere.

 

You don’t decide to build your family a home and start by buying curtains, and a railing for your staircase, and carpets, and air conditioners. You start by building the foundation. And all of your decisions and actions that follow after that foundation are built are strategically decided upon based on the structure of your house. You need to make sure the house is actually liveable before you furnish it.

And you need that same foundation in your business in order to get clients and then grow from there.

 

Here is what you DO need if you want to get clients quickly in your new business:

  1. You need to be clear on your message and have an opinion that gets the right people’s attention
  2. You need to be able to clearly articulate what you do and how you can help people
  3. You need to understand who you can help, who you want to help, and who needs your help – and make sure these all line up
  4. You need to create offers for your people that they actually want to buy

And when do those 4 things, you will get clients. And you will get referrals. And you will have a platform for building an audience, and you will have material for creating FB ads, and you will have a reason to create a FB group, and you will be able to strategically implement ALL THE THINGS.

So before you jump on the periscope train or start drafting an elaborate webinar series, do yourself a favor and get focused on the 4 actions above, and I promise, your business will grow faster  by doing those 4 things than by trying to do ALL THE THINGS.

xo becca

PS. I teach a program that helps you develop these 4 key foundations. It’s called Uncage Your Business, and it helps coaches, healers, and consultants learn how to use online business to get clients faster. Click here to learn more.

Just a quick little note to anyone who is terrified of possibly getting stuck in an elevator with someone who might ask you what you do (gasp!).

I wanted to share some work that I did recently with my client Sara.

Part of my work with clients is creating your “pitch”, which we all know is hard, right? Summing up everything you do is no small feat – but that’s exactly where most people get it wrong. They try to put ALL of what hey do into their pitch, and it ends up sounding contrived, long-winded, and confusing.

Here is Sara’s “before” pitch and her “after” pitch – so you can see what a difference getting REALLY clear about what you actually DO for people can make. It sounds basic, but if you’re struggling to explain what you do, your foundations are likely the missing piece.

 

Sara’s BEFORE pitch:

I help women raise their energetic vibration in the world and claim a deep feeling of energy, clarity, vitality and confidence, using whole, nutrient-dense foods and the practices of mindfulness, gratitude, compassion and connection.

Sara’s AFTER pitch:

I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and feel like they have no willpower around food that they know isn’t good for them. I help them sort of rewire and reprogram those patterns so they can really feel calm and in control, so it becomes easy to resist that box of Halloween candy in the cupboard or those donuts in the meeting room at work.

 

The “after” is still a work in progress, but Sara wrote is ALL on her own as a result of what we did in our work together, and already you can see how much more tangible and clear it is.

What’s important to point out here is something that happens to a lot of people – the ‘before’ version is very high-level/conceptual. It talks about the bigger picture purpose and impact that we want to have with our business. It’s usually very near and dear to our hearts and something that drives us everyday to keep doing the work that we do. This is important to have and I encourage everyone to get really connected with WHY they do what they do.

However, that’s not what you are going to actually say to people when you meet them and they ask you what you do. I mean, you can – but you will likely get a lot of blank stares and smiles of “that’s nice”, but no one saying “OMG that’s me let me give you all my money and oh here are the names of 3 friends who also need you“.

 

Your pitch should be more about what you DO then about why you do it.

Notice how the ‘after’ version of Sara’s pitch is SUPER tangible and clear – it evokes an emotional response in the person she is talking with, and immediately paints a picture of exactly what she does and who she helps. If the person you are talking to can instantly thin of at lest one person in their life who needs this, you’re on the right track.

If you’re working on your pitch – I HIGHLY recommend saying it out loud to see how it feels. Seeing it in writing is MUCH different than using it in casual conversation, and you’ll find that the way you say it will likely change depending on who you’re talking to and what the context of the conversation is (which is why the idea of memorizing a perfectly prepared pitch will likely make you sounds more like a jackass than anything else – and that’s a job title you definitely don’t want to have!)

Get out there and practice, and post your pitch in the comments if you want feedback so we can let you know how clear it is!

xo becca

PS. If you want to learn how to put this together for yourself, check out Uncage Your Business. We work on pitching plus SO MUCH MORE that will help you get new clients in the door.

 

 

Before you run away from this because you are sick of hearing about the whole 6figure business bullshit that every damn coach and their protégés seem to be yammering on about – I ask you to pause and hear me out. This is NOT a post about how you can SO easily make 6-figures if you just do A,B,C.

AND it’s not a post about how anyone who claims they can help you make 6 figures is full of shit and should be banished from the internet (not necessarily true, and while there are a lot of sketchbags out there, some are legit).

This post is a balanced and real look at some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making this kind of money in your business – and it’s the part that no one seems to be talking about.

After my post a few weeks ago I have been thinking a lot and chatting with a lot of my colleagues about what it really takes to make six figures. And there are a few things that we noticed that very few “make 6 figures coaches” are doing.

And that is qualifying their clients.

 

Not everyone is a fit for every coach. It’s the coach’s responsibility to tell you straight-up whether they can actually help you or not.

 

My friend Tad Hargrave at Marketing for Hippies does a GREAT job of this. He has a page in between the “buy now” button and the actual checkout process that he calls the “Are you sure?” page, which serves to double check whether the client is SURE that this is what they need. He includes additional info to help them make the decision, and encourages them not to buy if it’s not right for them.

This. is. revolutionary.  In a world where we are constantly being sold to, told that no matter where we are, we can get the help we need if we just sign up, this is beyond refreshing.

When we hear these 6 figure business claims, many coaches make it seem like anyone and everyone can just hop on their roster and will go from 0-100 in a short amount of time. In reality, there are many things that a business needs to have in place – things that can take years to build up to – in order to reach this milestone.

If you as a client registers with a coach or program and you don’t have the foundations in place that are required, you likely won’t get results, and then it makes the coach look bad, and then we start hearing stories floating around the internet about how so-and-so doesn’t deliver… when in reality, maybe they DO deliver, if they have the right client, at the right time, with the right foundations in place for the service they are offering.

That’s a lot of if’s that need to align.

 

There are a lot of bits and pieces of your business that you need to have cleared up if you want to eventually make it to 6 figures in your business.

 

Not ironically, these are the parts of business that I work on with my clients, particularly in Uncage Your Business. Because I was sick of seeing so many people make big promises without helping people set the right stage for this kind of growth to actually happen. It’s irresponsible. And while I’d never claim to help you make 6-figures, because I work with new business owners and that’s just not where they are at (even though some of my clients do get there), I CAN claim to help make sure you have set the right foundation that will lead you in the 100k direction.

 

7 things you need if you want to hit 6 figures

1. You need to know what you are selling

This might seem obvious, but if you are still in the beginning stages of even trying to decide what business to start, you can’t just hop in with a coach and expect to jump to 100k overnight. The actual process of deciding on a business that will work for you, your lifestyle, your strengths, your values, and your experience – takes TIME. How much time? That can vary, but I’d guess that most people spend about 6months-2years trying out different things and thinking about what they could offer, before they actually bite the bullet and DO it. This doesn’t take into account the time it might take to actually get training and experience in your chosen field. If you decide you want to be a life coach, or a web designer, you are going to have to do some training courses to help get your skills up to snuff.

 

2. You need to have a clear niche

You may have already decided on what your business will be, but if you don’t know yet who you are selling to and you aren’t specific and clear about that – your marketing efforts will fail. Niche doesn’t have to be defined by a specific demographic or group of people, but it DOES need to be clear enough that people “get it”.

I like to define “niche” by what problems you solve for people, and what kinds of people have those problems. This process is a BIG one. I am sure all of my clients wish there was a random niche generator out there that would just tell them who they should work with, but the reality is that it takes a lot of tinkering and testing to find the niche that is going to feel good for you, who are able and willing to pay you, and who will feel like a fit for your business for the long run. You might *think* you have a great niche, and then you set out to do the work and realize you hate it. Or you might have a few ideas in mind, and you need to take the time to test them before actually committing (much like a marriage, you have to date your niche first – you don’t just choose one and dive in without seeing how it feels first – and you want it to feel fucking GOOD before you put a ring on it).

Tad works extensively with people to help them find their niche, and he calls it a spiral – you start with something broad, you narrow it down a little, but there is still always more narrowing down to go, and you end up going in circles for quite a while (getting clear and clearer with each spiral), until you finally circle in to your true niche. This process takes anywhere from 6months to YEARS – but for argument’s sake, let’s say that it takes around 2 years to really settle into the right niche.

In fact, I was having a conversation with my friend Tad while I was writing this post, and this is what he had to say about niching. If you have been struggling read this:

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3. You should probably have a website

This may not always be a requirement to get you to 6-figures, but if you plan to sell online, it’s definitely important to have a site that looks good, that represents your brand and your offerings well, and that looks legit (ie. that  hack-job DIY website you put together is GREAT when you are starting, but it will likely need a professional facelift before you start doing more extensive online marketing). This doesn’t have to take a long time, but I’d say that most business owners don’t get to this point in their business until at least 2 years in (because you need to be clear on steps 1 & 2 before you even think about investing in a site).

 

4. You need to have a business model that will let you grow

Some of the hired help when it comes to 6-figure business coaches may work on this piece with you, but if their focus is on marketing, you’ll need to have this in place first.  Do you actually know what you will be selling and is it scaleable, and when you run the numbers, does it all add up? If not, this piece is important, and you will want to make sure your coach will be helping you with figuring out a business model that will work for you AND generate 6-figures consistently (and won’t just tell you to raise your prices to astronomical heights to make up for the difference). This can take at least a year, but usually 2+, of tinkering, often longer, to make sure that your services are bang-on, that you are very clear on what your clients want and need, and that you know your exact areas of expertise. You can’t make assumptions about that stuff if you want to grow.

 

5. You need to have an audience/a list/people who know who you are

Again, this piece may or may not be covered by your business coach, so double check before you hire them if you are gunning for 100k. It takes time to build a list of quality subscribers who TRUST you and want to pick up what you’re putting down. If you have NO one to sell to, you will need to take time to build up your audience first before expecting to radically grow your income. You don’t need a HUGE list, but you do need at least a core group of people who are already buying from you and who are following along with what you do. This can take anywhere from 1-2 years with consistent, active list building efforts.

 

6. You need to have time

If you want to grow big time in your business (and create profit that is sustainable over the years), you’re going to need to hustle. A lot. You don’t just have one great launch and then expect to be killing it over and over again. It takes time, and anyone who tells you it can be done in just a few hours a week (unless you are hiring out a lot of help) is leaving out some of the truth. If you’re building your business while you work full-time, or you have 3 kids for whom you are the primary caregiver, or you have other commitments that little how much time you can actually dedicate to your business, it’s natural to expect a slow-grow (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). It also takes you time to become a true expert at what you are doing, and be able to do it in varied enough ways that you can help a variety of clients. Many people who are teaching you how to make 6-figures are teaching you exactly what they did – but that might not work for you, your target market, or your business. You want to make sure that you have been doing what you do long enough that you have a proven track record and are able to show that you know what you are doing. And this takes time.

 

7. You need to have a business owner’s mindset

I’m not talking the woo-woo, “do the secret” kind of way. I mean you need to learn to think like a business owner, something that doesn’t always feel natural if you’re just starting to practice it. When you hit the 6-figure mark (or  if you want to) you need to be prepared to think of your business as a BUSINESS and not of yourself as an employee. If you are in scarcity mode, or rushing to try to do this “quickly”, you are already cock-blocking yourself. You need to be prepared for ups and downs, for a slow build, and not be COUNTING on making 100k so you can live. You likely also need to have extra cashflow and be cool with spending it for help with your business – if your mindset is one of being cheap and not investing where you need to, you’ll get back what you put in aka. not much.

 

So all in all, let’s do some math:

Getting clear on business idea = 1 year

Getting clear on niche + creating website = 2 years

Testing out services and coming up with business model  list building = 2 years

Time + mindset = ongoing

Total = That’s approximately 5 years of building before most businesses are in a position to even start to think about hitting the 6 figure mark.

This is obviously an average, and I don’t really care about hearing stories of how much faster so-and-so did it, or how much longer it’s taken so-and-so. It’s true that everyone works at a different pace. It’s true that some people are more well-connected and can jump right into being marketed to thousands of people just because of who they know. It’s true that everyone has a different level of hustle. But for the most part, it takes time.

How many of these foundations do you have in place? I know the FOMO that sets in when you see all the claims online about how easy it is (when it does NOT feel easy to you). But you absolutely NEED to set your foundations before you can even think about growing to 100k (or more!). It’s ALL possible, but it’s not just ONE thing that will get you there. It is years of building and growing and evolving that will lead you to the magical money place that you want to be in.

Don’t stop building if you’re not there yet. Take the time to focus in, get clear, test things out, and tweak as you go – your future business will thank you for creating something solid and sustainable so that 6 figures is a reality not just one time, but over and over again each year.

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PS. Uncage Your Business is open soon. We’re spending a month together rocking your business foundations – your brand message, your niche, market research, that pesky elevator pitch, your packages – we set a solid CORE so that you can get out there and grow. Grab your spot here.

 

My website history

I talked a few weeks ago about how to use Wayback Machine to check out old versions of websites, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my own website evolution, to show you that a premium, custom site isn’t where most businesses start.

YEAR ONE: DIY

Money spent: $500ish

I started my site DIY and did it all myself, save for a logo design and someone to help me get the basic structure of the site up. Unfortunately the snapshots of this version didn’t capture in Wayback Machine, so you will have to believe me when I say that it was really basic. I did have some pops of bright color and some great copywriting which helped me define my brand right off the bat, but the site was definitely nothing to write home about (except for the very HUGE fact that I had a website. I was extremely proud of having created it myself, despite many tears and sleepless nights trying to get thing to line up properly and work well…including a 4 hour battle with trying to make my contact form yellow, because I thought it would look cool. What a waste of time!). I had this site for about 8months before I hired any help and made major changes.

Why this version needed to change:

  • DIY hack job was apparent
  • Too hard to style basic elements myself
  • Embarrassed about sending people to my website

 

 

 

 

YEAR TWO: Header + sidebar design

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Money spent to get this look: $1000

About 8 months into my business, I decided to pay for some help. I paid a web designer $1000 to help me and she designed a header, my opt-in, and some sidebar badges (this is similar to what you’d get if you did a Brandburst with us, except BB also includes a session with me and a tagline written for you).

This made a huge difference and even though, looking at it now, it’s SO busy, it was still a huge improvement over my old site and was well worth it. I finally felt legit and felt proud to share my site with new people I was meeting! That was a HUGE deal and worth it in and of itself to not be embarrassed about my website! But it was still not the fully functional and beautiful site that I wanted. I had to style the copy on all of my pages, and whenever I added new services or changed my opt-in, I had to do a hack job of adding new content and making it fit with the site. It made things look disjointed and unprofessional. but it was what I could afford at the time so I made it work. This iteration of my site was around for about a year.

Why this version needed to change:

  • Too busy and bright
  • Needed more consistent styling throughout entire site, not just on homepage
  • More niched in business needed new copywriting and new taglines etc, and that needed to be better styled on the site

 

 

 

 

YEAR THREE: Semi-custom site

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Money spent to get this look: $5000

At the very start of my third year, things were ramping up in my business and I knew it was time for an overhaul. It wasn’t so much the branding that needed to change, it was just the overall look of the site – it needed to be more pulled together and I needed some custom work done on  my pages. I also needed all new copywriting. My business had evolved a lot over the first 2 years, and it was time to step it up and look the part online.

Basically, Uncaged need to grow up a little bit, while still being fun! And it did a GREAT job. Clients and readers raved about my site, and this website style (huge images, hand lettering etc) seemed to become a trend online (I’m in NO way suggesting that I started it! But I definitely got in near the start and then quickly started to tire of this style).

I loved my new site and it was definitely a huge upgrade for me. But still, this was only semi-custom work, which means that only 5-6 of my core pages were actually custom designed, so anytime I wanted to add new content or create new courses, I had to hack it together myself. The site also required a LOT of plugins for functionality because it wasn’t a custom site. And you know what happens with plugins? You get headaches and glitches and shit breaking. Not ideal, by a longshot.

**Interesting note about this site though – when I surveyed my audience and asked what they loved and didn’t love about my site, the majority said they loved it and couldn’t understand why I would change it. Of course, there were small things here and there that could be done better, they suggested, but overall they loved the look and feel of it.

So why on earth was I thinking about spending a small fortune to change it??

 

Because websites aren’t just about looking and feeling good. Websites are also about functionality and ease of use.

 

Especially in online business. And double especially for someone who wants to move towards selling more and more online courses.

So while my audience was telling me they loved my website, I knew that major changes needed to happen if I wanted my business to grow with me.

Why this version needed to change:

  • Too hard to add my own content/new services/courses and make it look good without having to hire a designer each time
  • Confusing for clients to find what they needed with courses/retreats/services all separated (they wanted to see it ALL together to choose their best option)
  • Plugins conflicting with each other and causing problems
  • WordPress updates causing problems with my theme
  • Too difficult to navigate through old content on the blog – heaps of great stuff getting buried away
  • Crappy user experience for buying courses and services – had to buy one at a time and be re-directed OFF my site to PayPal to buy. I knew I wanted to expand and sell more courses, and knew this would require integration of a shopping cart.
  • Overall, it wasn’t great user experience. I think that because people are used to these kinds of sites, they didn’t really notice that it sucked – they just thought all websites were that way. But once you give them a GREAT use experience, that’s when they start to really notice and appreciate how easy it is to use

 

 

YEAR FOUR: FULL CUSTOM SITE

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Money spent on this version: $12 000 + VA fees to help with all the integrations

You can see right off the bat that this site is SUPER engaging.  You can click around without having to always use the ‘back’ button, you can see programs at a glance, you can poke around in the blog categories or see all the posts at once, and there is a shopping cart where you can buy multiple products and services at once without having to leave my site.

But most importantly, on the backend, it’s extremely easy for me to add new content.

To add new courses, I can go into my new “courses” tab in my dashboard and input all the content in pre-made forms, and it will automatically style it on the course page:

HOW IT LOOKS ON THE BACKEND:

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HOW IT LOOKS ON THE PAGE:

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I can also add new testimonials to the testis section, and simply check the box on which page I want them to show up, and they will show up there, neatly styled and ready to help me sell:

HOW IT LOOKS ON THE BACK END:

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HOW IT LOOKS ON THE PAGE:

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And a multitude of other functionality that make it EASY for me to add to my website and business as I grow.

With the new launch, I’ve also integrated multiple opt-ins, which requires a more complex system than Mailchimp (which did GREAT up until now and I totally recommend them!). But now, I can easily add new opt-ins to my FREE page, take stuff away, and segment all my lists so that I can have tailored automation sequences for each one and make sure that I’m optimizing what I send and to whom. Not gonna lie – this shit stresses me out and it NOT my forté, but having a great VA on my team allows me to take care of this kind of thing without a huge headache.

This was  HUGE investment for me – the biggest single investment I have made in my business to date. but as you can see, it didn’t happen right off the bat. I made small changes as I went, and let myself grow into this kind of change. And it was WELL worth it, but there is NO WAY I could have done this in my first or second year of business. Actually – let’s talk more about that.

 

What I did BEFORE I re-designed:

First off, before you invest in anything, you want to make sure that you are clear about your business foundations – your niche, your message, your services and packages etc.

At this point in my business, that stuff is super crystal clear. This re-design was more about functionality than it was about change in niche or anything like that.

I had an idea based on market research and my own assumptions about which elements of my site needed changing, but I wasn’t about to invest over $10k on a whim. Even though my clients were TELLING me my site was great and just needed a few small changes to make things more clear, I wanted to make sure I was making an informed decision and not just going about this thing all willy nilly. I needed some real data to make my decisions. So I hired a web designer/developer/data geek to help me geek out on all things analytics. I have NO idea how to read my own Google Analytics beyond the basics, and I knew investing a few hundred dollars to see the full story would be well worth it.

 

Don’t just assume that you know how people are using your website. Track that shit so you can make informed decisions.

She looked at not only my Google Analytics, but also my Session Cams and heat maps (best tools EVER by the way and SO easy to read compared to GA) to help me get a better understanding of how far people were reading and scrolling. One of my biggest concerns was that my site was VERY copy heavy, and  even though my copy is awesome, I wasn’t so sure people were actually reading it all! I wanted to cut it ALL down and keep it super short and to the point.

But what we found in my audit was that people were scrolling past the homepage, but reading EVERY SINGLE DAMN WORD of the About page. Huh. Who woulda thought!? I guess if someone is hiring a service provider, they want to get a good sense of who this person is. So based on that we decided to keep the long about page, but ALSO add a short and sweet version for anyone who just wanted the gist.

We also made all kinds of decisions about which pages needed better opt-ins, which blog posts to delete, which programs were getting the most views and from where, and which functionality would make the most sense to integrate into the new site.

NONE of this would have ever been mentioned by clients in market research, so it just goes to show that just because your site looks pretty and people “like it”, it doesn’t mean it’s working well for you or your business. If you’re going to invest in new design, it’s absolutely crucial to do it from an educated place. My last site looked nice. My new site actually WORKS for me and my clients.

 

The Process

The entire process of this project took about 7 months. I started conversations with my amazing designer, Lis, back in April, and we set a start date of mid-June. She worked behind the scenes on the site during the majority of the time, while my VA sources out new systems for us for our mailing lists (Active Campaign) and shopping cart (Easy Digital Downloads), while I got busy creating all the new mini courses.

We pushed back our launch date twice, because this shit ALWAYS takes longer than you think it will! And then my team worked their asses off to make sure everything was working properly when we were ready to go live. I feel EXTREMELY grateful to these women, because without them I’d have to do this al myself and I’d surely have ended up pulling all-nighters with a LOT of tears, and that’s just not worth it to me. I’d rather pay someone else to do the heavy lifting, even if it feels scary investing THAT much money. #alwaysworthit

We still have things to figure out now that the new site is up – links are going missing, emails seem to disappear, some of the buttons are funky, and there is still some upkeep to do behind the scenes.

 

When to re-design/re-brand:

What’s the difference?

First let’s get clear on the definition, because I see this being thrown around ALL the time. What I did at Uncaged was NOT a re-brand. It was just a website redesign. A re-brand would be if I was to completely change my message, my viewpoints, maybe my audience, my marketing strategy, to represent something very different than what I do now. It would be like if I decided to take away the edgy, playful, no BS approach at Uncaged, and instead use a softer, subtler, more intuitive tone. I’d change phrases like “business doesn’t have to be a shitshow” to something like “using your inner guidance to help your business be a true representation of your beauty” — or something like that.

A solopreneur business might decide to rebrand so that they can show more of the true THEM in their business if what they started with was something watered down or not authentic, or they might decide to start working with a different market and need to uplevel their brand to match their new audience (and prices).

Kendrick Shope is a GREAT example of someone who rebranded, not just redesigned. Kendrick is a powerhouse and means business – her clients get real results and pay her top dollar for it. But her old brand didn’t really have that strong, powerful, professional feel to it. Her new one? Definitely does.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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You definitely don’t want to redesign or rebrand too often though – People will be confused about what the hell you’re actually doing, and if you find the need to do it THAT often you probably need to take a few steps back in your business and get back to your foundations.

 

How to know when to invest in your website

If you’re just getting started, there is NO WAY you should invest such a huge amount of money. It’s just not worth it. Your business will change and grow tremendously in the first 1-2 years, and if you do a full blown site right away, you will inevitably have to make major changes soon down the road. It’s absolutely fine to pay just a little bit and do what you can yourself, and allow your business to grow into itself before you fork over the big bucks. As you can see in my examples above, the evolution of my website happened naturally and now, 4 years in, I’m very clear what my business model is, and thus what kind of website I need to support it. You simply can’t know that when you are just getting started unless you have been doing what you do for a while behind the scenes.

Along the way, if you feel like you are outgrowing your current site, and the frustration and time it is taking you to add new content is more headache than it’s worth, or if you have clients telling you that your site is confusing or hard to navigate, it’s a good sign you’re ready to up-level. Also, if you’re so embarrassed about your site that you never tell ANYONE about it – it’s well worth it to invest a little bit to get it to a point where you are proud to show it off!

Ditto if you are making enough money that $5k or $10k doesn’t make you want to cry – do it.

If you feel like you need to invest because “nothing is working and no one is buying”, I’d hold up a sec and take a look at what else might be going on in your business.

  • Are you clear on your foundations?
  • Do your people actually want what you are selling?
  • Are you marketing yourself effectively and getting in front of enough people?

There are a lot of reasons businesses don’t work, and you don’t want to rush right into re-doing your website unless you KNOW that is what is holding you back.

 

Do you need to “launch” when you re-design?

I didn’t… at least, not really. I did host a launch party and gave away a bunch of courses, but I didn’t make a HUGE deal out of the launch. This is a personal decision and you could go either way – you could ramp things up to sell a bunch of your new services/products if you have re-created them all.. or you could just quietly create the new site and delight your users the next time they come around. My goal wasn’t really to sell anything new, as all my services stayed the same, but since I did create some great new mini-courses I wanted people to check them out, hence the launch party contest. You absolutely do NOT need to give yourself a headache about “launching” an updated site, if you don’t want to.

 

Phew. That was a LOT of info, but I hope it helped you get a better idea of when and why you should re-launch. I absolutely don’t think you need to have a full-on custom site right out of the gates, but you do need something that looks good and gives your business a home you can be proud of. I’m more than happy to answer any other questions you have about redesigning – shoot them into the comments and I’ll do my best to help!

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PS. Uncage Your Business is opening for November this week! Click here to get on the list be the first to know and get access to exclusive early bird bonuses.

One of my favorite things recently is checking out websites on WayBack machine. You can look up the web archives of ANY site out there, and see every iteration that was ever online. It’s very awesome and very eye-opening, especially if you are someone who is comparing yourself to someone like Marie Forleo, who has been in business for over 15 years (seriously – go check out her first ever site and see how far she’s come!).
And some of my all-time favorite sites to check out are those of newfound 6-figure business coaches who I see around the internet.

 

What a recent search showed me

This week I was looking at coach’s new site (someone who’s been popping up in groups lately) and I was remembering how much she was struggling not that long ago. So I hopped onto Wayback Machine to check out her archives. Here is what I found: back in the first version of her website (sometime around 2013) she’s saying that she’s rocking her business doing what she loves (life coaching, I presume) and that she helps women do the same so they can make 6 figures. just like she did!

But now, on her current site (about 2 years after she said she was rocking it in business), I’m reading about how for the first two years of her business no one knew who she was and nothing was working, that in 2014 she was broke and she had no clients and she hit rock bottom …And now, magically! she’s pulling in multiple 5 figures a month by helping others do the same!

 

Do we all smell the same thing here? This is happening a LOT, I see it, you see it – we all see it.

 

Let’s just be clear that I have no problems with people switching direction in business, going through lulls (it happens), changing course, teaching things they are good at, and I love a good rags to riches story — when it’s authentic. But when someone is saying they are rocking it in business, and then later reveal that they were actually NOT rocking it (that was just a lie haha! but they don’t actually tell you that), and that they were really flat broke and business wasn’t working…  and THEN do a full 180 and use the old “I was broke and now I am making 6 figures (by showing other people how to make 6 figures too)” … it’s just so blatantly sleazy and gross that, as they say, I. can’t. even.

Of course, this rubs me the wrong way. As a business coach who actually grew a business that has been more and more profitable every year, with no bouts of hitting rock bottom and no bouts of insane leaps in income,  just slow and steady building,  I wonder about what it means for this industry that more and more of the fake “I was broke and now I make 6 figures!” coaches are appearing – and actually getting clients!

It makes my blood boil to see people falling into the glamour of it all – how easy it must be to make a shit ton of of money overnight, because look she did it, and she’s just like me! My hesitation when I hear of people paying for these “coaches” is that they are buying into a good marketing story, rather than someone will skill, integrity, and know-how.  Because they made their fortune by saying “I’ll help you make a fortune!”, without ever actually doing anything well in their business before helping people make a fortune…

I’m wary, to say the least. We have all seen this pyramid-scheme-style shit, and some coaches out there even TEACH it (the worst form of all of this) — they turn health coaches, life coaches, yoga teachers, you name it – into business coaches on purpose, because the only model they know is how to help people make money by helping people make money.

All of this is just to say that we all need to do our research before we hire a coach or a mentor. At the end of the day, you get to choose who you give your money to, and if they can get you results, that’s really what matters… but be wary of the “I was broke and now I’m suddenly rich and I’ll show you how” coaches… they may not always be able to get you results in a way that actually feels good for you. Some are legit and have inspiring stories, and some, well, are not.

 

How to know if your coach is legit or not:

There’s no one way to know if your coach actually knows what they are talking about and can actually help you grow your business, but there are a few things you can do to try to make sure you’re not hiring  someone who is just blowing smoke up your ass by way of good marketing:

1. Check Wayback Machine
You’ll get a good idea of where they came from by looking at their past website revisions. Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be too hard on them! But have a look at their evolution and you’ll get a gut feeling of whether it feels legit to you or not.

2. Search for them in business groups you’re in.
You may find that just 6 months ago they were posting about how they have no clients and don’t know how to make any money, but now you see them selling 6-figure business secrets (interestingggg). Also – GOOGLE. When Reese Ben-Yaacov stole my programs and sold them I wrote a blog post about what happened, and now people still email me almost a year later saying that they are grateful that they found my post before they decided to give her any money!

 3. See if they work with people other than business coaches.
Often, these kinds of coaches will turn all their clients into B2B, and if you’re a passionate health coach who wants to help people cure their digestive disorders, you likely don’t want to be told that you need to start helping health coaches start businesses if you want to make any money. If your coach has worked with other people in your industry and gotten results, that’s a good sign.

4. Listen objectively to their story.
When someone says they were flat broke and then they started making all kinds of money — did they do that via the pyramid scheme method of making money by teaching people how to make money? If yes, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t help — there are many coaches who are legit and smart as hell whose businesses center around helping other businesses… but if it’s a “I was broke and had no idea how to make business work” and then all of a sudden they “figured it out” and are raking it in – just be careful.

5. Ask to hop on the phone with them for a consult.
Talk with them about how they see you growing your business, what they’d want to work on with you, and make sure they have solid, clear answers that instill confidence. If it sounds fluffy on a consult, it’s not going to get much better when you hire them.

6. Ask to talk with their past clients in the same industry as you.
Any good coach will be happy to send over the names of people they have worked with, and ask around in groups too to see if anyone has worked with them and ask if you can chat with them to get a sense of their experience (but make sure to have the conversations in private – you don’t want to start shit talking anyone in a public forum if that client wasn’t happy with their coaching!)

7.  Are they promising things that are too good to be true?
There are very few legit coaches I know who can guarantee that you will make more money in your business if you work with them. Most good coaches and consultants know that there is no magic guarantee – so they might say they will help you grow your social media following, or create your packages and courses, or build a marketing strategy that will help your business grow, but very few legit coaches will actually say straight up that they will help you make more money, and very, very few would ever put an actual dollar amount on it (because they know that there is a lot that goes into that equation. I tell my clients I will help them create packages that sell, but I would never say I’ll help you create a package that will pull in 10k/month. It might, it might not – a lot goes into that that is out of my control in our work together). The coaches who are saying they will absolutely make you more money (100k), might not actually be able to deliver that – so make sure to get a guarantee if you do see promises of specific numbers.

8. Pay attention to what results they are actually selling you.
Are they selling you a fabulous, first-class lifestyle, where you get to live your passions and escape the 9-5 and do work you love and make a killing doing it? Or are they selling you tangible business building tools and strategies, and coaching to help you find a way to do it that works for all your unique strengths and talents? Because I tell you, I see a LOT of people out there selling a lifestyle with no actually strategy to back up how the hell they plan on getting you there (and believe me, I am acutely aware of this because I have to be careful how I message this in my own business, what with it being named after the idea of a lifestyle “The Uncaged Life“).

One of my clients just last week told me she hired one of these millionaire coaches, and her coach told her to put more pictures of her in first class on her website, and get a professional photoshoot done every time she travels, to make people want what she has. Basically, she was told to lure them in with lifestyle photos and promises, and then teach them how to do the same with their clients. Um, no thanks.

There is a lot of awesome business help out there, and unfortunately, a lot of garbage. And I know we are all sick of seeing “make 6 figures in 3 months” bullshit. And while I have zero problem with anyone wanting to make 6 figures (or more – it’s your life, you get to decide what will make you happy), I know that you are too smart to actually believe that it can happen overnight, or even in 6months, or a year…

And I am hoping that you know that you CAN make your business work, and that you don’t need to buy into the FOMO that’s created when you see these glamorous, time-sensitive programs run by struggling-life-coaches-turned-6-figure-business-coaches-once-they-learned-the-secrets-of-success.

There are other options, and your business will thank you for choosing them in the end.

xx becca

PS. Are you thinking HELL YES Becca, this shit need to stop!!? If yes, I’d love if you could share this post  on your own business page or with someone you know who needs to hear it. Thank you!

 

Being in the business of coaching coaches and coaching a lot of woo woo types (woo woo’s, I love you, and I say that term with endearment), I hear a loooot of reasons why they don’t want to do this or that in their business. Or conversely, why they DO want to do things a certain way. When you’re a sensitive, feelings kind of person, it makes sense that you’d want to run your business that way too. The crappy part about this is, there are “business coaches” out there egging it on.

I blame the fact that there is whole sea of life-coaches coaching people on their businesses, who don’t have any actual business experience themselves, who are telling people to do what feels good, to leap and the net will appear, to feel the fear and do it anyway…  instead of teaching them tried and true business strategies.

And I’m all for people running businesses that feel good for them (that’s kind of the point right?), but all too often, this advice is being taken as gospel and it almost turns into a rally cry of sorts, shouting out to the world about how you are living life and doing business YOUR way, with other new coaches jumping on the bandwagon, so that you have a whole band of coaches who are touting the same message, with very few of them actually achieving much success in business.

A few of the rally cries include things like:

I’m doing business on MY terms.

I only do it if it’s a HELL YEAH.

I’m following passion and I know that will get me where I want to go.

And sure all of that is great and to a degree, these strategies can work for you and help you make some of the intricate decisions involved in the day to day running of a business. Things like trusting your intuition and finding your own unique way of bringing more of yourself to your business are essential skills in business.

But as blanket advice that applies to every part of your business (and especially to STARTING a business)? Are you kidding me? No. Just, no.

 

Here are the top 5 pieces of cliché advice out there that I do NOT recommend taking, and what you should do instead.

 

Bad advice #1: Follow your passions

This one needs to stop. The reason this advice doesn’t work is because as humans, we have MANY passions (note: the word ‘passions’ can be replaced with ‘interests’ here too). How are you possibly supposed to follow all of them? This is what leads to a business that doesn’t make any sense (or any money). We’ve all seen it – the life coach who also sells scarves and who teaches cooking classes and who loves animals and talks about how your pets can teach you about branding. No. The other reason this advice sucks is that we’re talking business here, not hobbies. And as much as I wish they could, not all of your passions are gonna get you paid. It’s amazing that you love working with underprivileged teens to help them with body confidence, or that you have a lust for travelling to far away places… is there someone willing and able to pay you for these things?

What to do instead:

Choose one area of interest that provides an intersection between something you love, something you are GOOD at, and something people will pay you for. Sometimes this means leaving some of our passions as hobbies – and that’s ok. In fact that’s GREAT!  We all need more than just our business to maintain our sanity. If the passion that you absolutely MUST turn into your career won’t get you paid directly with clients, you may need to bite the bullet and find a job that lets you do it. Working with an organization that already offers the services you want to offer is a great way to do work you love without having to worry about how you’ll pay your rent.

Stuck turning what you’re good at into a biz? Our FREE 3-month business plan checklist will tell you where to start.






 

Bad advice #2: If it’s not a HELL YEAH, don’t do it.

Again, I understand the basis of this advice, but if you run your business this way, not much is going to get done. When you’re starting a business, you need to learn a million and a half different skills. All of a sudden you’re a marketer, and a web designer, and a writer, and a social media strategist, and a bookeeper. Unless you can afford to hire it all out right away (more power to you if you  can – do it!), you are going to be doing a LOT of stuff that is the exact opposite of HELL YEAH. And the advice of “don’t do it unless it feels good” usually keeps people stuck, because not a whole lot is feeling good… which means not a whole lot is getting done. As much as we all want business to be fun and give us the good feels all the time, that’s not how it works.

What to do instead:

Get over it, and get used to it. Really, that’s some of the best advice I can give you. Sometimes business is just business. It’s WORK. And while it’s still awesome work that lets you help a lot of people and do something you enjoy, it’s still work. Find ways to make the crap work FUN. Play your favorite album and see if you can get all your social media scheduled before it ends. Do sets of 50 jumping jacks in between lines of bookeeping. Make it fun. And if all else fails, hire it out. Eventually you will want to get to a point where you are hiring out anything that you a) don’t want to know or b) don’t know how to do, and I understand that we don’t all start with that kind of money to invest. But even early on in your business, if you find a task wearing on you and sucking all your energy and time, it’s MORE than worth it to pay someone else to take it off your plate. And for everything else, get used to the fact that there will always be parts of your business that you don’t love. Let go of the expectation that everything needs to feel good.

 

Bad advice #3: You need to be different

I wrote a whole post about this a while ago, but I’ll sum it up here again – trying SO hard to stand out and do something different takes you further away from what you actually want to be doing. Not to mention that if you’re doing something entirely different that no one has ever done before, you should be worried about the viability of your idea.

What do to instead:

Just be YOU. Stop worrying about whether it’s been done and how it’s been done. Start to worry more about how YOU want to do it. Bring more of your personality to your work, bring all your ideas and beliefs and opinions, and let your business be fully YOU. It will, by nature, end up different than what’s out there… without you having to try so hard.

Being YOU is easier with a plan. Good thing we’ve got one for you. Enter your email to tell us where to send it.






 

Bad advice #4: Your marketing techniques need to be innovative and new and exciting

This is a hard one to disagree with but I’m gonna go ahead and do it. I hear this all the time from clients, “I don’t want to do  ___ to market my business. That doesn’t work for me. I want to do something else”, to which I ask whether they have TRIED doing ____… to which I get blank stares and excuses as to why they haven’t tried it.

And I get it. We all want to be beacons of light in an oversaturated online space, we want to be noticed, and we want it to always feel like a hell yeah (see point #2). The truth is, some of these “old, boring” techniques are done over and over again for a reason – they work. Things like blogging, guest posting, getting promoted on other people’s sites, being interviewed as an expert, creating a freebie to get when they sign up for your site – this shit works. And unless you’re a huge company with an equally huge advertising and marketing budget, it’s unlikely that you will be able to actually pull off a new and innovative way of marketing.

Sure, you don’t HAVE to do every list building technique under the sun (let’s all promise to cut tele-summits off that list right now, shall we?), but you do at least need to do a baseline of online marketing in order to get anywhere. Not to mention that all of this is FREE, which is every new business owner’s BFF word.

What to do instead:

Keep it simple. Keep it boring. And be consistent. Pitch a new guest post every week to a publication bigger than yours and see how your numbers grow. Get yourself interviewed on 5 podcasts this month. Make an amazing free thing to give to people and then promote it to everyone you meet. These methods are tried and true and don’t cost you a thing. The businesses that end up successful aren’t the ones that are the best at what they do or have crazy marketing techniques – they are the ones who are consistent, who show up, and who do the boring work that others aren’t wiling to do… and they do it until it starts to work. Be one of those people.

 

Bad advice #5: You don’t need a niche

I’m gonna keep this one simple – if you want your business to get off the ground at faster than a snail’s pace, then yes, you do. It’s just SO much easier when you know who you’re talking to and can be specific about how you help them.  And I don’t know about you, but life and business can be hard enough already, I’m all for taking the easy approach so I can actually make money to live and buy overpriced superfoods and pay my ridiculous Toronto rent. Wanting to make a good living isn’t selfish, and it doesn’t have to be so hard. We’ve all seen businesses out there that seem to have no niche – they focus on a broad topic like love, or personal development. All well and good, but go check how long they have been in business, how they started, and how long it took them to make any money. You’ll see that those businesses took a long time to get to the point where they were generating income. If you have years to spare and want to experiment with your business  as a hobby then staying broad is a-ok, but if you want to be able to afford to live off your business, niche in.

What to do instead:

Niche doesn’t have to mean a specific demographic, and niche doesn’t mean that you need to know exactly what kinds of shoes your ideal client wears and whether she drinks red wine or beer (we all know the kind of exercise I am talking about right?). Niche just means that you are clear about what problems you solve for your clients, and you know who generally has those problems. If you can nail down your specific problems and the specific results you get for people, you’re golden. Stop worrying about picking an arbitrary age range, and challenge yourself to get super clear about what problem your business helps people with, and all  your marketing will become to much easier.

Tired of bad advice? Get the FREE 3-month business checklist that tells you exactly what to focus on.






 

When I was wrapping up the last round of Uncage Your Business (the program that helps you finally get your business shit together once and for all), I was scrolling through our private Facebook group and noticing how cool it was to see how much progress people were making during our short 4 weeks together. And after I cried a few happy tears at how PROUD I am of my clients, I realized – these would make KILLER testimonials. And I have been meaning to write about how to get great testimonials because social proof is something you NEED to have in your business, so I figured I’d share some of the REAL LIVE stuff that UYB participants are saying in our private group and teach you a little bit about how to use social proof and testimonials to boost your street cred!

 

Having proof that your work delivers results is one of the best ways to sell your services and packages.

 

Because no one wants to miss out on something amazing, and most businesses run off #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). But often, asking clients to write testimonials means that you end up with generic sounding “It was great!” testimonials, or super professional sounding blurbs with NO emotion or personality… and these don’t convince anyone that it WAS actually great. There is a better way.

Use real client language and unsolicited testimonials

Your prospective clients are smart and discerning, so you need to make sure that your testimonials help them feel secure in making their purchases and persuade them to sign up, and testimonials that weren’t intended as testimonials can help you do this. This means grabbing real client language that they posted elsewhere or sent to you unsolicited.

If you have  a Facebook group or a private forum for your clients, that’s a great place to grab your client results on the go. Or if you receive client emails during your work together that captures them RAVING about their results, don’t be shy – ASK those people if you can use their words!

 

Using clients off-the-cuff words about you and your work is a GREAT way to highlight how good you are and have it sound REAL.

 

None of the examples below were written as testimonials – they were posted unsolicited in our private Uncage Your Business group. Check out how REAL they feel.

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Get follow-up testimonials after your work is done

Getting in-the-moment words of praise is great, but sometimes it takes time for results to kick in, and getting testimonials RIGHT after a program finished is not always a true representations of how that work impacted that person in the long run.

 

Results build over time, and testimonials should too.

 

Often, right after working with you, clients need some time to integrate and implement everything. They may already be showing some AMAZING results from  your work, but YOU know best that it often takes time for the full effect to kick in. Which is why I think it’s SO important it is to keep following up with your clients’ progress – long after your work together is done.

Every time I open Uncage Your Business again, I like to check in with past UYB grads to see where they are NOW – it’s important to me to see how much of what we do in UYB stays with them as they move forward. So I hit the streets (or more like, I hit my Uncaged VIP Facebook group) and ask them!

From people who took the program wayyy back in it’s first  round over a year and a half ago, and to folks who just finished a few months ago — here is what they had to say

Laura says: UYB changed everything for the better! 

I took a little time to soak up all the UYB goodness when it ended. I think some people are able to take off right away and others, like me, have to let thing
s marinate and settle a bit. Since UYB, I’ve become a floppity gillion (actual number that I just made up) times more clear on what I want to do and who I want to work with. 

Before UYB, I used to feel like I had to pursue every area of design “Ah! Hand lettering…gotta do that!” (I have little patience for hand-lettering, btw). “A full line of greeting cards…yeah, I should do that!”. I wasn’t really operating from a purpose that means something to me.

It’s such an amazing feeling to let go of the idea that I have to be the designer who does everything. Without UYB, I’d probably be hunched over my desk, hand-lettering for no reason, and hoping one day someone would want to buy it.

UYB made everything click for me and I’ve had more people interested in working with me than ever before. It was the besssst thing I could have done for my biz!

_______

Pamela says:  UYB Rocked Ass! It was the most intense month I have ever spent on really getting clear about what the hell my business is about. Sure, before the program I thought I knew what my business was about. But I didn’t have the success I wanted so something had to be off, right? This program isn’t what you think it will be. Becca’s current marketing doesn’t even do it justice. You won’t get out of it what you think you will. And at the end of it, you are left with WAY MORE than you ever could have imagined would happen in a month. I am walking away with crystal clear clarity and confidence that I have never had before. I believe in the long term it probably will save me thousands of dollars that I would have invested in other business building courses.

_______

Jenn  says: I came into UYB with one business idea that was vague and kind of like what everyone else was doing that never felt like “YES!” and left with a different business that I am super charged about. I am so crazy clear on who I want to help, how I help them, and (almost more importantly) HOW I want to help them vs how I thought I should help them.

I really wish I had met Becca before doing any other course (especially B-School)  because I wouldn’t have floundered and felt like I wasn’t making any headway for so long. When I have moments of doubt and think “Who am I to have an online business and do this?” I just touch base with everything I have learned from UYB and I get centred again. I can’t wait to report back once I am up and running and have tangible numbers because I will be writing the most kick ass testimonial UYB has ever seen!

_______

Jessie says: After finishing UYB this past winter, I honestly wasn’t sure if I had benefited that much from it.  Sure I had changed my offers and my website copy, my business processes, etc, but I still didn’t have hoards of clients knocking on my door.  Then I started committing consistently to the next level shiz with blogging, and the client followups, etc and gave myself a major mindset makeover over this past week and I gotta say that shit is turning around.  I have a handful of people in my new group program and the huge difference now after UYB is that these are my DREAM clients.  I was so inspired after my call I couldn’t sleep last night!  I’ve had applications flowing in like crazy these last few days and all of them are my ideal clients.  I thought I had figured out my ideal client avatar before UYB but I still attracted clients that weren’t a great match for me.  Now, I’m lit up by every application that comes in and beyond grateful to be doing this work, so thank you Becca​!  UYB literally renewed my passion in my business by getting me crystal clear on the way I wanted to work, who I wanted to work with, and how to speak their language.

_______

Diana says: 

Let’s be serious here: without you Rebecca, I wouldn’t have a business. I would have probably wasted years in getting there and wasting my time and reading everybody else’s newsletter. After the first time going through the course material I was like: OMG, that’s the shit! And after a month of amazing work, well, people around me told me that they had never seen me so energised and happy and I was actually having the time of my life. I loved every single material of the course, I loved waking up and reading the messages in the group, doing the homework, working the whole day long on it and seeing things happening at such a speed that I would have thought possible.

You only want me to share 3 results? I got a lot more than that! In a month I created a completely new website, my message became crystal clear, I outlined all my programs, blog posts, and opt-ins, and I got my first 3 clients for my new programs during the course and I got the full investment back! Plus, I got about 100 subscribers to my new newsletter, my $650 signature Coaching Program sold without having to sell it, and people started writing me to tell me that they love my website. And this is all because of Uncage Your Business.

 Working with you gave me the incredible opportunity of making it all happen. Of creating something beautiful that didn’t exist before, of putting myself out there – I even started recording videos – of talking about what matters to me, making me able to be found and help people. You gave me all the cards I needed to make it, plus you helped me to take the step that changes fear in courage. I’ll always be grateful for everything you made possible in my life.

_______

Check out how much more confidence it instills in you, as the reader, to see that people continued to get results and still feel the program was a GREAT choice, long after the initial high has worn off. That’s how you want your clients to view your work – make them see how valuable it will be in the longterm.

Paste your testis everywhere

So, obviously this post is two-fold – I’m trying to teach you about testimonials, but I’m also trying to sell you on Uncage Your Business (the jig is up!). The lesson here is that you can (and should) put your words of praise everywhere, ESPECIALLY when you are in launch mode trying to sell something. Yes, put them on your sales pages for your program, but also put them on your About page, and in your launch emails, in your blog posts, and post them on social media. Create case studies out of them. Interview past clients about their results and post the interview on your blog. Let people know how amazing you are, and create the #FOMO in your readers!

How to get testis if you don’t have clients yet

You might be shaking your head at me saying “Well, yeah Becca, that all sounds great IF (when) I actually have clients.. but I haven’t had a single one yet? How am I supposed to get proof that I am awesome when I haven’t worked with anyone?”

Totally legit question.

There are a few things you can do:

1. You can reach out to colleagues, friends, and anyone who knows you in a helping capacity (think back to coach training and any practice clients you worked with, or colleagues who can vouch for your web design work  that kind of thing), and ask them if they could write something for you.

2. Get your first practice clients and get moving! This is the approach we take in Uncage Your Business – helping you get your first clients NOW so that you can start collecting testimonials (and valuable feedback) right away (I’ll teach you how). You’d be amazed at how many UYBers figure out their first package idea, and not only get their first practice clients but also their first PAYING clients in as little as 4 weeks. It’s possible. It happens all the time. The key is getting out of your own way and actually getting started.

Wherever you are in business, social proof that your services DELIVER is one of the most important things you need to have to sell your stuff.

 

Join us in September for Uncage Your Business to get started with collecting your first testimonials, creating your killer signature packages that get NOTICED, nailing down your brand message, understanding your target market in a way you never have before (without any avatar exercises – hooray!), and being able to articulate what you do to people in a way that actually makes sense… and makes you money… and more so, finally getting this business of yours out of the gates and into the world, where it belongs.

Click here to join Uncage Your Business September

And if UYB isn’t for you right now, ignore the pitch and go work on your testis! They are crucial to your business success.

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Yeah yeah yeah… I knowwwwww.

Starting a business is hella expensive. And you’re broke.

And there is so much to pay for. But once again – you’re broke.

I UNDERSTAND. When I started my business, I didn’t even have a job. I was racking up debt and was chintzy as fuck when it came to spending any money on anything.

But you know what I did? I picked up my credit card, and I paid Alexandra Franzen $1000 for copywriting. BEFORE I even had a website. BEFORE I even knew what my business was. BEFORE I had any clue what I was doing or how I was going to do it or where it was all going to lead me to.

Could I afford it? Hell no.

Was it the right place to spend what little money I had? Nope, not at all (more on why in a second)

Am I glad I did it? You betcha.

 

Because here’s the thing – investing in your business changes the game. BIG TIME. As soon as you fork over that money, good things happen. Energetically. And tangibly.

 

Investing makes you pay attention. Commit harder. Work more effectively.

Because there is nothing worse than spending money on something and getting nothing out of it.

Investing makes you act like a professional business owner, even when your business feels anything but professional.

WHERE SHOULD YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY?

Not all investments are created equal. There is a sequence for what you should invest in first, and second, and third, and so on.

Here is the order:

1. CLARITY. Getting help strategically defining your branding message, knowing your clients, figuring out what makes you different from everyone else who sells what you sell, understanding how to package up and price your work, and making sure that all the foundations are in place. Without this, every other business investment is a waste of money. And without the confidence that clarity brings, you will have a hard time selling anything, forever. Best to get these cleared up right from the get go.

2. WEBSITE + COPY. As soon as you are clear (and confident), you have to look good online. But spending a lot of money on this right away – not a good idea (hence why I said that spending $1000 on copy right away in my business wasn’t the best place I could have invested. It all changed within the first 3-6 months of my business and I had to continuously change it). Not that you have to invest a shit ton of cash right away, but a great WordPress theme and a few hundred dollars for some tweaking by a professional, and a course on copywriting, will go a LONG way.

3. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT + SPECIALIZED TRAINING. Once you’re up and running and things are going smoothly, you will get to a point where doing everything yourself feels like pure hell and you’d rather stick a rusty nail in your eyeball repeatedly than have to learn yet another piece of technology. This is the point when hiring some of your tasks out to an assistant or other contractors and experts is WELL worth the investment. This is also a great time to learn new skills that will help improve your business – Facebook ads training, learning how to sell, new ways of using social media – programs that are specific to what you need now in business.

Are there other places to spend your money? Sure. Business investments are endless and you should always be putting money back in to get more money back out.

INVESTING: A CASE STUDY

I want to look at a case study from a real live Uncage Your Business participant, because I think it tells a PERFECT (and very common) story.

unnamedMeet Ffion! (hi Ffion!). Ffion is a super talented web designer over at Kaleidoskop.

I chatted with Ffion recently about what’s happened in her business since she invested in Uncage Your business last year, because she was the first person that came to mind when I was thinking about writing a blog about investing. Ffion almost didn’t sign up because she was flat broke and super stressed about it. So I thought it would be interesting to followup almost one year later and see what she thought NOW.

Here is some of what she had to say about making one of the biggest investments in her business to date!

What was going on in your business before you joined UYB? What were you struggling with that had you decide to join?

Before I joined Uncage Your Business in I was really struggling in my business. I’d hit my lowest point so far since starting out around mid 2012. I’d made some money in the past, but at that time I was pretty much completely out of money, wondering how I was going to pay my bills for the coming month and nearly didn’t join the course for that reason. I had practically no money coming in, the clients I’d worked with in the past had generally been far from ideal, I was creating design work I was less than thrilled about, I lacked confidence about the quality of my work and was seriously undercharging. I was totally fuzzy about my message, the people I wanted to serve and the work I wanted to be doing and was totally clueless about my next steps. I had completely lost all motivation for my business at this point and was kind of ready to give up. I was spending my life just getting through the day and felt completely aimless and out of joy. Everything just felt like a total drag.

Even though you signed up for Uncage Your Business anyway, did you have any fears/doubts about the program, before you signed up?

My biggest worry was, “Would it be worth the money I put in? Could yet another online course make the difference that all the others hadn’t?” It was the most money I’d invested so far for a business course so I was really on the fence about the whole thing.

I decided I’d be out of money within the next two months either way and took the leap!

Now that you’ve been through the course, can you talk a little about how you feel about those fears and doubts now, looking back?

Uncage Your Business was a totally awesome experience! The course packed way more value than I’d ever expected.

The course has paid for itself over and over again, and I’d made my original spendings back within a couple of months, and since then the motion that kicked off from there has never stopped. UYB was the trigger that finally got me moving forward, and finally moving forward in the right direction due to my new-found clarity.

I started booking ideal clients for the first time ever and suddenly remembered why I thought design was fun in the first place. Work was suddenly FUN again. I actually started to enjoy my business for the first time.

Now looking back over the past year, I am totally in awe to see how much has changed and am pretty gobsmacked about all the stuff that has happened, all the awesome people I’ve connected with, the opportunities that have come up, and all the changes for the better that have been happening in my business. I don’t think all this progress would have been possible without your help. I’ve returned to the course material several times and have gained new insights and ideas every time.

Uncage Your Business is THE best thing I’ve done for my business so far and I’d totally consider doing it again if I felt I was stuck in the mud all over again. Hasn’t happened yet though :)

I’m actually glad I was worried about the money originally, because investing so much money meant a much bigger investment from myself. I’d put skin in the game so I was sure as hell going to show up, do the work and get as much value as possible out of it. When you go all in and do the work magic happens. I cannot believe how far I’ve come, and I feel right now is just the beginning. Can’t wait for 2015. It’s going to be awesome.

***

I’m sharing this with you not because I want to show you how awesome UYB is (even though it is), but because this kind of response is SO common with new business owners who are afraid of investing. Reading back over Ffion’s answers, it’s pretty damn clear that her investment has not only paid off financially several times over, but that her happiness, excitement for her business, confidence in selling, and hustle have all been HIGHLY impacted.

Based on how she was feeling before, how much money do you think she would have made this year without this investment? How excited do you think she’d be about her work? I mean, she’d already invested a TON in other courses that got her nowhere. Ffion was literally about to quit and give up before she invested. And now she is booked up in advance and rocking it HARD

THIS is the amazingness that is possible when you take the time and money to invest and do the work on the core of your business. It builds you a more solid, sustainable business in the future.

 

I truly believe that every business can’t afford NOT to invest.

 

How much money is it costing you NOT to invest in your business? How many months have you spent staring at blank screens and going in circles and being frustrated that you’re not getting anywhere and you don’t know  what you’re doing? Assume $2000/month for what, 3? 6? 12? months of not getting anywhere… Do some of the math… and then tell me that you can’t afford to invest.

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PS. If you’re hell yeah-ing to needing to set a solid foundation in your business, Uncage Your Business is running again in September  and will be open for registration August 10 (and earlier, with a special bonus, if you’re on the interest list. Sign up here.)

I wrote a post earlier this week about one of the biggest reasons you’re probably not getting clients (click here to read it), and in it I mentioned Kendrick Shope and her program Sales School. There aren’t may programs that I affiliate for, and even fewer that I take the time to actually tell community about, and Kendrick’s course is one of those few. I find myself constantly sending clients to it after they are done working with me, and I’m SO excited that Sales School is running again this year (click here to check it out).

There are some common questions that I often get from clients about selling, and I wanted the expert herself to help answer them, so I hopped on a Skype call with Kendrick this week and we chatted about SELLING.

In this interview we talk about:

  • The #1 mistake business owners make when it comes to selling
  • How to know whether it’s a selling problem or something else when your business is flailing
  • The differences (and surprising similarities!) between selling in person/online/over the phone
  • WHEN you need to start focusing on selling in your business (do you get clients first, or learn selling first?)
  • How to get your clients to fall in love with you and remember you forever
  • Why you need to EARN the right to sell to your clients
  • Why life coaches need to learn sales more than ANY other industry
  • How one of her clients closed an extra $24,000 in sales JUST from learning Kendrick’s selling tools

One of the reasons I loooooove telling people about Sales School is because it’s one of the few programs that DOES actually live up to the hype of the results is promises. You WILL make more money in your business when you learn to sell. It’s pretty much guaranteed. Which makes it a no-brainer for me to cheerlead for, because the more money my clients make, the happier I am.

Check out the interview here, and then hop into the comments! I want to know what your perspective on “selling” is – do you think it’s gross? Do you love it? Hate it? Have no idea how to do it? Let’s get talking about this important skill.

And if you’re interested in Sales School, it starts this August and won’t run again til next summer! Click here to read more about the program and sign up.

BONUS — if you do decide to take Sales School, I’d love to give you Hey Nice Package for free! Because selling is hard if you don’t have great packages to sell. Just make sure to use THIS LINK to sign up (it’s my affiliate link) and I’ll send you HNP for free. Woot!

 

We’ve all been picked last in gym class (I’m sure that wasn’t just me? I’m really bad with a soccer ball). As humans the need to be liked is ingrained in us. And just when we think society is moving away from the obsession with being liked and fitting in; just when we think we’re done with that high school bullshit; just when we start to realize we’re adults, and we are awesome, and who the fuck cares if people like us or not…. along comes social media and throws our whole operation for a loop.

And social media when you’re starting a business – don’t even get me started. It’s bad enough for the everyday person who uses it to compare their lives to all of their high school friends (and constantly finds themselves falling short). But add business to the mix and the level of not-good-enough stoops to  whole new level of UGH.

Here’s how it usually goes down when you’re starting to play around with social media in your business:

1. Create a Facebook page.

2. Ask all your friends and family to ‘like’ it.

3. Spend hours agonizing over what to post, trying to find the perfect background image for your obsessively thought-out photo quote

4. Share your post in every Facebook group you can think of, hoping it will lead people back to your page and praying they will like it, and you.

Then you wait. And obsess. And check over and over again how many likes your posts are getting.

And then they barely get any and you convince yourself that you are doomed to fail and you will never be a part of the cool inner circle of online business, and you decide you may as well pack up shop right now because no one is ever going to care what you have to say.

 

Ok, so first off – the fact that I am writing this means that you are NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO THIS HAPPENS TO. I think this is important to be aware of.

 

In fact – it happens to me too. I’ll post something and 50 people will like it… which may seem like a lot, but when you have 5.5k+ fans on your Facebook page, it’s peanuts. Actually, it’s about 1%. So basically, Facebook is shitting the bed when it comes to actually showing your people your posts (unless you pay for it through ads). This means that you can post all you want and only a fraction of the people who like your page will even see the post show up in their newsfeed, and an even smaller fraction of them will take the time to “like” it or comment.

Now, this 1% is not an official stat – the algorithm is changing all the time and I’m not sure exactly how they decide how many people to show stuff to. It used to be based on engagement, but that doesn’t even seem to be making a difference these days. But let’s assume that about 1% of your people are liking your posts…. if you have 200 FB likes, that’s 2 post likes.

Sound about on par with what you’re seeing on your page? Great then – you’re right on track.

On the opposite side of the coin, I know MANY businesses who have 50k+ fans on their Facebook page and their stuff gets shared hundreds of times and they have comments for days… but guess what? Their businesses are struggling.

 

I have some good news though that will make all of this irrelevant. As much as we all love Facebook, Facebook is NOT your business.

 

If you were my client, I wouldn’t give two shits about how many people are liking your posts. It’s not something I EVER even look at with my clients, because social media is not your business.

You know what IS your business?

Your clients.

Your email list.

Your content marketing strategy.

Helping real people with real problems in the real world.

I’ll repeat it again because it’s worth repeating – Social media is not your business. The number of likes you get on your cute photo quotes tells you nothing about how much people need what you are offering, and it definitely isn’t an indication of whether your business will succeed or fail.

I am amazed at how many times I work with clients who are launching new programs or trying to get more traction in their business, and I ask them what they are trying, and their answer consists of exasperated cries about how they posted it on Facebook and twitter and got NO replies. Then I ask the what else they have done, and I get blank stares.

There’s something else you can do OTHER than post on Facebook??

The worst part is that these folks often have an existing email list – people who have said “Yes please I want to hear from you!” – and they haven’t emailed them yet. Or they have send one email and no one bit so they gave up and went back to Facebook.

If the above sounds like you – don’t feel bad! No one teaches you this shit when you’re just starting out, so you look at what everyone else is doing and figure posting on Facebook must be the way to fill your client spots.

But Facebook is not your business. Say it with me: “Facebook is not your business!”

 

You can still rock the fuck out of your business even if no one likes or comments on your Facebook posts.

 

Ahhhhh. That’s the sound of a sigh of relief that just came out of your mouth, right?

Focus on the things that matter and you’ll soon be raking in enough money that you can run Facebook ads and start actually using Facebook in a way that works! Stay tuned next week for a checklist of what those things that matter ARE. I’m creating a detailed course to walk you through the first 3 months of business, and next week I’ll be giving you a brief overview (a to-do list of sorts), so you know you’re staying on track and you can stop obsessing about making more quotes in Canva and crying because you feel like you’re getting picked last in the social media equivalent of gym class.

And until next week, get off Facebook and get into your actual business.

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Has this happened to you? Post your Facebook page in the comments so we can head over and give you a little love :)

Yep. I’m making THAT kind of statement. The one where I promise you that there is just ONE secret to success.

How bold! I know. I know. But I’ve worked with hundreds of people and I can tell you – MOST of them are lacking this one thing.

 

You know how you keep reading more and more blogs about how to make your business work? How you keep signing up for business courses? How you keep learning and ingesting information and hustling to try to make your business work?

How’s that going for you? Because in my experience (and hundreds of my clients’) – it doesn’t.

 

There’s really only one thing you need to get your business on track and starting to “work” (work meaning that clients are finding you, and you’re getting people signed up for your list, and people are giving you their money).

I’ll tell you what it is.. but first let me tell you what it’s not.

It’s NOT yet another course on list building.

It’s NOT a training on how to do a webinar.

It’s NOT a branding course or a rebrand.

It’s NOT spending hours on Canva making images for Instagram.

It’s NOT a coaching call about money mindset or finding your business personality type.

So what is it?

It’s FOCUS.

And it’s hard focus. Which is a bit of a double entendre – because you need to focus in hard on exactly what your business is…  but also because finding that kind of focus can feel hard.

It requires you to make decisions.

It requires you to take real action (not just the procrastination kind of action).

It requires you to stop being so precious about what you’re doing and start thinking like a business-person.

And that’s why very few businesses actually make it. They get to overwhelmed with all the things to do and all the possibilities – that they don’t focus in on what will actually make a difference. And then things don’t work. And then they feel bad and sad and like you’re just not good enough when the truth is that you’ve just spent way too much time on the stuff that doesn’t matter and not enough on building the foundations of your business.

I’ve used this analogy before and I’ll use it again because it’s a damn good one:

It’s like you’re building a house and worrying SO much about what color the carpet should be, what kind of couch you will buy, spending time perusing Etsy for the perfect wall piece, and ogling all the cute household knickknacks at Anthropologie — before you even lay the damn foundation and build the walls. All that other stuff are the bells and whistles that are WAY more fun to think about than the reality of what it’s going to take before all that stuff is even useful.

FOCUS. Most new business owners lack it because there IS so much to get done.  And your ideas are shiny and bright and new and exciting and you want to do it ALL and build the perfect business and be fulfilled and happy and free and Uncaged.

 

But you can’t do it all at once. And you definitely can’t do anything til you have rock solid focus on what you are creating, from the ground up.

 

Now, admittedly, “focus” can feel like a really intangible thing and could possible mean a lot of different things. SO let me break down for you exactly what I mean when I say FOCUS in your business:

This means clarity in your message; TRULY understanding who your clients are (and no, avatar exercises don’t really get you there); knowing exactly what you do for them and being able to articulate that in a way they can understand; creating killer packages and programs that feel easy to sell because YOU feel confident in them and they are exactly what your client wants and needs (no more guessing). And until you cut out all the crap that is distracting you and find focus, you’ll never nail these things down and you will continue to go in circles and spin around and around and up and down and never quite get there.

Sounds exhausting to me, and frankly, like a huge waste of all your amazing talent and energy and value in this world.

I dream of a world of business owners who don’t let all the shiny stuff suck them in and who FOCUS on what they are creating. These are the business owners who will change lives and change the world.

These are the warriors that emerge from Uncage Your Business and these are the business owners who survive and thrive.

Focus. Do you have it?

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PS. Uncage Your Business is over half full. We start April 13. If you need a month of cutting out the crap and finding TRUE focus (the kind that pays the bills), this is for you. Click here to read testimonials and for more info. (a note that the mobile site has gone a bit wonky and may not work, so you might need a desktop to view this beauty!)

 

This is the question that every new business owner wants to know from every successful business owner ever:

“How did you become successful in business?”

I started The Uncaged Life in November 2011, so that means I’m heading into my 4th year in business (holy shit!). And I am thrilled (for my own sanity) to say that I am at the point in my business where things WORK.

But it wasn’t always that way. So I wanted to share a little bit about some of the things that I did to help me get here.

But first – I need to mention money.  I LOVE talking about money, but I don’t like talking about how much money I make in my business. It feels SUPER weird. Which is funny because it didn’t feel weird when I was making very little money… but now that I am making more than a little money, it feels weird.

But I’m going to talk about it a little bit because I think it’s a great measure of success in a business. Sure, there are other ways to measure success (joy, free time, being of service, how you wake up feeling everyday etc). But since I am in the business of helping people grow businesses, and my clients want all of that PLUS they want the money, honey, I feel that it’s important to share a little about the money in my own business.

Because let’s all be honest here – no one wants to hire a business coach who is struggling to pay their rent. We all want to know that the people we trust with our businesses have done it themselves and can help us get to where they are.

Ok? So I may bring up money in the following stories, but let’s not get all weird about it.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Confused. Scared. Motivated.

That’s how I felt when I was starting Uncaged. I knew I wanted to create an amazing community of people who wanted to travel the world and work with no pants on and do what they want when they want.

But that is all I knew. I didn’t really have a clear sense of what my business did for people. I certainly didn’t have package and programs outlined. And I had zero idea how to actually create this big dream of mine. But I knew that I was going to work my ass off to figure it out.

So I paid for help.

Here are a few of the things I invested in during the first year:

Life coaching with a business focus

Copywriting for my entire site (before I had a site)

A bundle of online business building courses

B-School with Marie Forleo

More life coaching with a business focus

Daily Whip with Erika Lyremark

An online course about branding

An online course about social media

An online course about attracting clients

An online course about creating online courses

Two months one-on-one with a well known business coach

Did any of this help me? Sure. In small ways. But was it what made the difference in my business? No.

 

All these courses did was take me further into the rabbit hole of getting wayyy ahead of myself without first having a solid foundation.

 

Not to say they weren’t useful (I NEVER regret spending money on my business even if it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I think you always learn something from every dollar you spend.)

But remember my house example from last week’s post? Yeah – like that. I was buying all the fancy furniture before I even built the damn house.

My first year was a LOT of experimentation and a lot of time spent dilly dallying because honestly, I didn’t know what the fuck I was really doing. Or who I was helping. Or what exactly I did for them.

I made money in my first year – about $15000 total – but my lack of clarity in my niche and my services was certainly responsible for me not making more. I even sent out an email to my list and asked them to tell me in their words what they thought I did… and the answers were all over the map (and none of them were quite accurate). Good sign that I needed to reel things in, and fast, if I was ever going to make this work.

At the time I was coaching new business owners, people who didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives, and people who were working 9-5 jobs and wanted to do something different but had no idea WHAT they wanted to do – whether it was starting a business,  finding a new career, or saying FUCK IT and packing up on a round the world trip.

MY SECOND YEAR OF BUSINESS

In my second year of business I made the jump to making around $85000. And in the third year I cleared 6 figures in net income. This was a HUGE deal to me and exceeded my ultimate business goals by a lot. I never thought that this would happen. But it did.

And here is exactly what I did to make it happen.

 

I stopped looking at everyone else’s business and started focusing on my own. I unsubscribed from everything. I stopped taking courses and hiring coaches. And I NICHED THE HELL IN. Big time.

 

I coached myself. HARD.

I forced myself to make decisions that weren’t easy to make. I had to get really honest about which clients I LOVED working with and where my best skills were.

I defined my business message and also REALLY narrowed down what problem I solve for people. I changed all the copy on my site so that it no longer said I would work with the career change people and the travellers, and niched in to ONLY focusing on online, service-based businesses.

And that decision? Was terrifying.

But that decision? Was also the the most important thing I did in my business ever. And as soon as I did it, I saw my income grow, my clients base get more solid, and my message get spread way more loudly and clearly than ever before.

MY THIRD YEAR

Once I had cut all the crap and forced myself to get really super specific, I was finally able to create packages that were CLEAR to people who visited my site.

I dropped many of the programs I was selling and created niche-y as hell packages that sold out right away, and continue to sell out (and I now teach that process in Hey, Nice Package!)

I was finally able to STOP all the mad experimenting and settle into a place of ease in my business, where I could run the same programs over and over and over and fill them every time and actually take some time away from creating new stuff all the time.

#THEDREAM

Not only did I gross more than double my income from last year, I worked WAY less. And while I was working way less, my business continued to grow while I was enjoying time away rock climbing and eating everything in Italy and living my life again like a regular person.

I was running Uncage Your Business while I was doing this:

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Any my online digital programs were selling while I was doing this:

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SO WHAT?

The reason I am telling you all this, $$ numbers, details, photos and all, is because I want you to see what is possible when you stop messing around with the wrong things in your business, and start focusing on the stuff that will actually help you get further along and finally make some damn money, so you too can run your business while galavanting around islands (or while taking care of your kids, or while doing volunteer work in Africa, or whatever other wild Uncaged adventures you have in mind).

And I know what you’re thinking – because I thought the same thing.

It feels like I will never get there.

That kind of success is for other people – not for me.

It all sounds like too much damn work.

I don’t know if I have what it takes.

I have been trying and nothing is working.

I said all of those things, and more (likely with a few more swear words thrown in during the rough times). I said them all because everyone online tries to make it all seem so easy and it did not feel easy.

 

And I know that you are smarter than to believe all the people online who tell you they can help you make 6 figures in 3 months and and that they tell you it will be a piece of cake.

 

They won’t help you do that and it won’t be a piece of cake… but what WILL make it easier is getting the right kind of help. I had a lot of help when I started… just not the right kind.

I don’t regret investing in a single one of the programs I paid for, because once I coached myself to get mega clear on my message, my packages, my clients, my results and all the in betweens, I was finally able to USE all the more nitty gritty stuff I had learned in the past.

But all of it was virtually useless for me until I reeled everything in, focused, made some hard decisions, and took charge of my business from the bottom up.

And I know the same will be true for you. You can have all the things you want and more and maybe even unicorns and rainbows and the ability to poop glitter (anything is possible?), if you just stop getting ahead of yourself, take the time to build your business like a rock from the ground up, and FOCUS.

Not just anyone can do this – but YOU can do it. I know you can.

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PS. If you’re new to business (or things just aren’t working) and you need a serious boost of clarity about who you are, what you do, and what to SELL, check this out.  .

 

As the title suggests, this post is about Facebook. Particularly, how to not be a dick when using it for your business.

But more importantly than all that – the Bigger Picture – this is a post about being a human being. It’s about operating your business with the highest integrity. About honoring the space you take up as a business owner.

I run a pretty great Facebook community (click here if you’d like to join). It’s full of amazing people who are doing amazing things, who support each other, build real relationships with each other, and help each other out in the best and worst of times in business.

And over time, this group has grown. We are almost at 2500 people strong! Which is amazing. But also poses some problems trying to manage that many people, as you can imagine.

Somewhere out there, there is advice being given to business owners that if you hop into Facebook groups that are filled with your ideal clients, and make yourself useful in there, that this is a good marketing tactic.

And I get it. I really do. There are ways to make this marketing technique work.

But the majority of people out there? Are doing it wrong. Very wrong. And it’s not only impacting my Facebook community (and most communities out there that deal with businesses), but it’s impacting how people view them as business owners. Not only do I run a group – but I am a part of many other business groups too. They have helped me along the way when I have needed support in my business. So I also see the other side of this whole tacky promo thing and the impact that it has on the group. And it ain’t pretty.

What not to do on Facebook :

Want to avoid being a dick in Facebook groups (particularly in groups that directly state that there is to be no self-promotion)?

Here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t use other people’s groups as your own platform for self-promotion. As a way to find clients. As a place to pitch services, unsolicited. This is just bad karma and if you’re using a group for this purpose, the group facilitator has every right to give you the boot.

What to do instead: Focus on creating YOUR platform. Ask yourself what you would be spending your time doing if Facebook didn’t exist. Then spend more time doing that.

  • Don’t pose as “being helpful” by replying to people’s questions, but instead of actually answering the question, posting a link to your services, or telling the person that you work with people JUST LIKE THEM and they should definitely connect or set up a consult to talk about this!

What to do instead: Be helpful, but ACTUALLY helpful. If someone has a question – answer it. Don’t link them back to your site or tell them they can pay you to answer it. Just answer it. 

  • Don’t post your business page, or your latest blog post and ask “What do you think?”. You’re clearly not asking for feedback since it has already been published. People can see through this.

What to do instead: If you genuinely want feedback, ask pointed questions. Be specific with what you want to know. You’ll get much better answers because people will actually take your feedback request seriously when they can see that you genuinely want to make changes.

  • Don’t straight up private message other community members, answering their questions in private and then inviting them to your own Facebook group or business page to learn more.

What to do instead: If you have a resource you think would be useful for someone, ask them in the comments if they would like you to send it over. Get their permission to PM them first.

  • Don’t just find random people in groups and private message them asking them what they do as a business, and then follow up by telling them what YOU do.

What to do instead:  Do some good old fashioned internet stalking and take the time to find out what they do. If you want to genuinely connect – go to their website and email them, or do your very best to contact them via email. And when you do – make it about THEM. Do not ask for anything in return.

  • Don’t post tacky posts with inspirational quotes with your website on them. Or posts that are simple inspirational messages, but conveniently have a link to our website in them

What to do instead: Ask yourself, before you post or comment on ANYTHING, what your intentions are. Are you truly posting for the right reasons? While you can convince your head or pretty much anything, your gut always knows what is true. Are you really posting in an effort to promote or find clients? Or is your request genuine? Operate out of integrity and check in with yourself before you post anything. And if it feels dishonest, delete it.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of Facebook groups (that were once helpful, great places to hang out) all turning into one big incestuous orgy of self-promotion.

And I will be very honest here – I have done this in the past too.  I was new to business. I didn’t know any better. And I was often in groups that let you promote – so I did. But now I know better, and can see very clearly why this is very, very bad for business.

And I want to save you from doing something that could potentially do you more harm than good in business.

 

Building your business on someone else’s platform is not sustainable. Your time is better spent creating your OWN thing. Your own platform. Your own brand.

 

Jumping into someone else’s business like it’s your own and then thinking you can sell all your shit to their people is not a sustainable business model. I’ll ask you again: What if Facebook didn’t exist? What would you spend your time doing?

Let’s put all this into real world context, just for fun, just so I can really hammer my point home.

Imagine this: You’re out at a friend’s house.  There is a group of people there. You happen to be single and you’re on the hunt – and these people? They’re attractive to you! You’d probably date any one of them. They’d all make great suitors. So anyway, they are sitting around drinking wine, having great conversation. You are relatively quiet for most of the night as you sit back and stalk your prey like an animal waiting to pounce at just the right moment. The night ends, and everyone gets up to leave, and you jump up and shout out to the room “Hey, so who wants to have sex with me? I live just down the street! Anyone?” The room looks at you like you are the biggest fucking creeper that ever existed. This is equivalent to jumping into people’s Facebook private messages and pitching yourself. No.

Or Scenario 2:  You’re in the room with your friends and the attractive people. Let’s say one of these attractive people asks something like “Do you know where the best pizza in town is?” and you reply “I do! Also, did you know that I’m single? Would you like my number? Here it is!” As you grab their phone and enter your number into their contacts.  And they reply “Oh, um. Cool. So anyway, what’s the name of the pizza place?” And you’re all like “Call me and I’ll tell you!” This is pretty much the equivalent to commenting on people’s Facebook questions with a link to your website. #desperate

And now you’re going to say “Yeah Becca, but these people – they need what I have!” Sure, they might need it, but the ways in which you are giving it to them make you look like a desperate drunk girl at the end of the night at the bar. NO ONE is taking that shit home.

 

So in conclusion, be a human. Have integrity. Please don’t ever do these things, in real life or online.

 

For those who are already part of the Uncaged community – THANK YOU for being there.  And for those who aren’t yet – hop in here (it’s free). It has been a trip trying to navigate how to manage such a large group, and it is definitely a learning experience for me in my business. And I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, and you need to make some hard decisions about what is best for the majority. Thank you for being there through all the small hiccups as we work together to try to create a group where you can TRULY come to be seen, heard, and supported.

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There’s something going on in the online business world that is really fucking annoying, but I can almost guarantee that you don’t even realize that it’s happening because you are so immersed in this world and it’s all around you.

Let me paint you a picture of what this phenomenon is, using a real world, non-business example (so you can see just how ridiculous it really is).

Picture this:

You go to the doctor for let’s say, some kind of funky rash (you name the body part). You tell the doctor all about it, and he takes a minute to decide what to do about it. He knows very well that it’s just a standard run of the mill heat rash and there is some cortisone cream can get rid of it. But for the love of god, everyone is using cortisone these days. It’s SO overused, he says to himself. SO last year. He’s sick of hearing about it, because he isn’t just any old doctor. He’s different, he’s special. He doesn’t want to use what all the other MDs are using. So even though he knows it will do the job and heal you right up, he decides that he should give you something different, something new, something unique.

But you don’t know the damnedest thing about the different creams and treatments and all the crazy options out there. You’re not a fucking doctor. All YOU care about is getting rid of the damn rash in the quickest way possible, with a treatment that’s tried and true and WORKS.

Do you really give a shit whether your doctor is offering something different than what everyone else is offering?

No, because you don’t know the difference.

You have a problem, your doctor has a perfect solution. So he should give it to you.

Yeah? Yeah.

 

So then, why is it in your businesses you run around trying so hard to be different, to not talk like anyone else, to not offer solutions that others are offering?

 

Rhetorical question. I’ll tell you why:

Because someone somewhere told you that you had to stand out. So you got your panties all in a knot and took it to the extreme.

But you are forgetting one (very, very important) fact:

You are fully immersed in your own industry, as well as the online business industry as a whole. You are in it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You are part of a thousand Facebook groups and email lists and courses that are full of other people JUST LIKE YOU.

You see what every single other goddamn person in your field is offering. You hear the same language again and again. You see the same programs. You read the same blog posts.

 

But your client is not like you. They have no bloody idea that any of this world even exists. They aren’t coaches, or nutritionists, or copywriters, or designers.

They are just a person with a problem that needs fixing.
 

When they find you, you are likely the most unique damn thing on the planet.

They never knew that someone understood them like you do! They’re amazed at how much your website speaks directly to them (even if you use the words juicy, or awesomesauce, or authentic, or any other “annoying” online business words that we might be sick of hearing). And how all your programs are exactly what they need (even if they aren’t the most obscurely unique thing out there)

In fact, they probably LOVE that you use those words. Because before now, all they have had to turn to is boring career counselors, or MDs, or their family and friends – and none of them really GET IT.

But you! You get it! They love you, you are their new idol and they want to be a part of everything you do because they have a problem and overuse of internet business words isn’t one of them.

You have the magic potion that will fix their lives.

We tend to forget that we are in this super weird, slightly incestuous, overly obsessed with different industry, and that our clients are just regular people.

 

And I am ALL FOR being yourself in your business, letting yourself create all the wacky and unique stuff that YOU want to create. But when we become so obsessed with being different, we lose sight of what we wanted to create in the first place.

 

Your job is not to worry about being different than anyone else, it’s to worry about being more of YOU.

So please, get your stuff out there, in all its juicy, awesomesauce, authentic glory, and remember that your clients love it.

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What do you think? Agree or disagree? I know the whole “be different” thing is a hot topic, and I want to know your thoughts. Let’s get the discussion going in the comments.

I’m nervous writing this post. It’s going to offend some people. It’s going to hurt some people. And, it’s going to – dare I say it – crush some people’s dreams. But it has to be said. Because there are things they don’t tell you in coaching school about starting a life coaching business (or any business really, but let’s focus on the life coaches, because you are often the ones who have such big hearts — and dreams — and who are often most defeated by the reality of running a coaching business).

To preface all this, let it be known that I really believe in the power of life coaching. There’s a reason I spent over $8000 getting trained in several different modalities. Coaches do good work and change lives.

But.

 

Life coaching is a really, really tough sell as a business. In fact, I’m gonna go so far as to say that ‘life coaching’ is NOT actually a business.

 

Coaching is a SKILL that you learn. Like graphic design. Or organization. Or teaching.

It is not a business in and of itself.

I see SO many people quitting perfectly good jobs and ditching perfectly good skills because they have decided they want to start a life coaching business to help other people realize their dreams and become their most authentic, powerful selves.

And then they struggle to get clients because no one knows what the fuck they are talking about when they explain to people what they do as a life coachbecause all of a sudden they’re talking in higher level concepts when most of us down here are just trying to figure out how to get our damn problems solved.

And then they come to me asking me how they can make it work. How they can generate a full time income in 3-6 months (because that’s all they’ve left themselves for savings). How they can become overnight successes like so-and-so.

And it drives me up the wall.

Not the fact that they are coming to me asking for help. I LOVE that my clients are so passionate about building businesses and doing awesome work in the world. What drives me up the wall is that somewhere out there, someone is feeding us all lies about how if you’re passionate about something, you can turn it into a business. That if you just BELIEVE  in the power of your dream, you can do anything you want to do.

And I’m calling bullshit.

Passion does not = profit.

 

And, I totally understand where all the life coaches are coming from, and why they believe that it should be pretty easy to build their new coaching business.

Life coaches – don’t lie. We ALL sat in our coaching school classes with our calculators when we first heard how much we’d be able to charge as life coaches.

$300-500/month for one client? (Does some quick math). You mean I’d only need 9 or 10 clients a month to make some pretty good money? Sweet! I’ll be able to reel those in within the next few months for sure! Bring it on entrepreneurship!

When I first starting coaching at The Uncaged Life, I was stoked to have 4 clients. I remember thinking “5 more, and I’ll be smooooth sailing.”

And then one of them dropped off.

And then one of them kept cancelling and pushing back her sessions, so our one month fee was spread over 2 months.

And then another had to put her sessions on hold indefinitely.

And where the hell were the other 5 clients that I’d thought it would be so easy to get?

All of a sudden, the idea of getting and KEEPING 10 clients felt impossible. Especially if I was going to have 10 clients all the time, forever. It felt like a hustle that I just didn’t want to be a part of.

 

What they don’t tell you in coaching school? Is that “life coaching” is a really, really hard sell.

 

I know some excellent life coaches – they’ve written best-selling books, they’ve got 75k+ likes on Facebook, they’ve done everything right, business-wise – they have more of a reach than I will ever have in my business – and they still struggle to get clients. They are still living month to month. And they have to hustle every damn day to find new ways to make coaching a viable gig.

Why? Because they are generalized “life coaches”. And life coaching isn’t something that people really “get”.

 

The most important thing that life coaches need to understand is that coaching is NOT a business – it’s a skill that you will use, combined with your other expertise, to help solve a particular problem.

 

If you don’t have a niche, and you’re offering really vague, intangible results, you’ll be hard pressed finding and keeping enough clients to pay the bills. (If that sounds like you, I can help with that).

I’ve seen it too many times – from the time I was in coaching school, to the clients I work with now – highly skilled, intelligent people, feeling inspired by the transformation that comes when you learn new coaching skills (because learning coaching is like a whole personal development course on it’s own!), who decide that they just MUST leave their jobs and become life coaches, so that they can help other people realize the power of coaching.

Do not – I repeat DO NOT – ignore all your past experience and knowledge. And don’t quit your day job just yet.

The other (hard) truth is that any tangible skill is about 10000x easier to market than coaching is, so for the love of buddha, don’t give those up completely to become a life coach.

If you want to make coaching work as a business, you need to bring in all your other expertise, experience, and skill, and use THAT to drive your business. And DEFINITELY being your PERSONALITY and strengths to your business.

If you have tons of experience going speaking gigs – focus your business around coaching other people through their speaking gigs.

If you’re a marketing genius, or a design ninja, or have other skills that are actually marketing and TANGIBLE – find a way to create a business around them, and use your coaching skills to help you develop better client relationships.

If you were in charge of hiring for a major organization and have experience writing and reviewing resumes that get you hired – focus your coaching around that in your business.

If your life experience has been unique – you’ve lost a child, you’ve mastered the art of negotiating for a higher position or salary, you were a successful musician – bring that expertise into your business and use it to carve out your niche.

 

The truth is that people will be coming to you because of YOU and what you have accomplished. Your story is important. Your skills and expertise are just as important. And while coaching isn’t about telling people what to do – sometimes people will need guidance, advice, and hand holding. And you are 100% allowed to be their coach, their mentor, their teacher, and their advisor.

And yes – you might be veering away from what you learned in coaching school, but you will also be fast-tracking your business success by playing to your strengths and personality.

Let’s call out the elephant in the room: The majority of coaches who are killing it in business are doing one of several things:

1. They coach and/or mentor other coaches

2. They coach small businesses

3. They coach executives within organizations

In other words, they are coaching people who value coaching, and are willing to pay for it. This is not your average person. $500/month for open-ended, undefined results is a hard, hard sell for the average person.

 

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with coaching coaches, businesses, or execs. The only problem is that we can’t ALL be doing it, nor do we all have to do it to make coaching work.

 

There are definitely other coaches out there who are working with ‘regular’ people and making it work. It IS possible.

And those coaches who are doing it – they have realized that their OTHER skills are just as important as their coaching skills, and they’ve been willing to step away from the traditional “coaching rules” (i.e. never giving advice, the client has all the answers, etc etc). and have combined their unique expertise with their coaching skills to help their clients in a whole new (and very specific) way.

I also guarantee that those coaches who are making it work have paid their dues, niched the hell in, created custom packages, and worked their asses off learning everything they could about how to run a business – and then they stuck with it through the ups and downs, made sacrifices and let go of some of their idealistic visions of what it would look like, and gave themselves permission to show up fully as themselves – even if that meant breaking some of the coaching rules.

As my friend Kira (who has had her relationship/singles coaching biz for 6 years, and just went full-time with it within the past 1.5-2 years of that) said to me when I was discussing this blog post with her:

“This is hard as fuck. You have to be willing to throw tons of love, energy, money, blood, sweat, and tears into this before anything actually happens. Give it at least 3-5 years, and in that time, you’d better get to know about business. And don’t even talk to me if you you’re not willing to pick a niche”

^^ Spoken like a true hustler! And someone who doesn’t coach other coaches, or businesses, and has chosen to niche in and has made it work.

You do NOT have to coach other coaches or coach businesses to make it work. But you DO need to realize that life coaching in and of itself is not your business, and be willing to take some time to excavate what your true expertise really is.

Here’s what you can do to make the life coaching business easier on yourself:

  • Get specific about who you work with and what problem you solve for them.
  • Learn to talk about coaching in everyday language – drop the jargon STAT.
  • Stop doing open ended, ongoing coaching. It’s hard to sell and doesn’t get you known for anything. Learn the common mistakes people make in creating packages, and then don’t make them.
  • Create ONE specific package for a specific market (based on your unique expertise) and get really, really good at it. Build a solid client base, and THEN you can expand.
  • Work with someone who knows the industry and can help you fast track your success – you don’t have to spend year struggling to figure it out.

And in the meantime, keep your day job.

Or, do as I did when I started my business, and go GET a job. The hustle is SO much more fun and easy when you don’t have the pressure of making a full-time income on your shoulders. Especially if you have a family, or bills, or other financial responsibilities that you can’t just drop out of. I beg you – don’t stop doing what pays the bills just yet.

You CAN and WILL build a business that sustains you. But it will take time.

So here’s to celebrating coaches everywhere.

Celebrating life coaches who are ready to take coaching from hobby to business.

Celebrating creating a community of coaches who are changing the world with their coaching businesses in big ways.

Celebrating not having to do it alone.

Because I’m goddamn serious about life coaches turning their skills into a viable business.

Because passion and enthusiasm, despite what you have read, is NOT enough to turn a profit. Especially in the coaching world.

Here’s to coaches everywhere, changing the world one business at a time.

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PS. If you’re a coach struggling to get clients, enter your email below to get the free Ultimate Checklist that will teach you a step-by-step process for how to get more clients quickly, without all the hoopla and wasted time and energy!

Enter your email to get the free checklist






 

 

You know exactly what I’m talking about. The advice that is plastered just about everywhere (and yes, even on my own damn site) that tells you you need to do business differently. The stress on how important is to have your USP. How you can’t be the same ol’ same ol’ – you need to create something new and unique and inspiring.

You’re told that this is the problem with your business – you’re not different enough.

The real problem, however, is not that you’re not different enough.

Oh no.

The real problem? Is that you are spending so much energy trying to be different that it’s stalling you in your tracks and stopping you from actually moving forward in your business.

 

Trying to stand out is bad for your business.

The other problem is that it means you end up creating a business that’s not YOU – it’s some weird, skewed, trying-so-hard-to-be-different-that-I’ve-lost-the-real-me version of you. I see it with my Uncage Your Business clients all the time.

And that is DEFINITELY not good for business.

The obsession with being different has become so obsessive that it’s actually taking you a few steps back in your business.

Think about it – you start to look around at what everyone else is doing to see what YOU can do differently. And you start to come across all these other businesses that are just SO cool – they’re doing amazing things,  they have great personalities, they’re fun and funny and smart and well-dressed doing EXACTLY what you want to be doing – but way better than you think you could ever do it.

So how the fuck are you supposed to be different AND be as good as them?

Might as well pack up your bags and go home now before you embarrass yourself, right?

(WRONG – obviously).

 

Imagine how much momentum you’d gain if you stopped looking at what everyone else is doing, and instead just created what you wanted to create (and trusted that just by nature of you being a completely different human being, it WILL end up being different).

 

The truth is that you only need to be 1% different (which you will already be without even trying).

But the more you try, the further you get from your real business vision.

I’m declaring an end to the madness about standing out and being different.

Put your head down.

Unsubscribe from everything.

Stop worrying about everyone else’s business and be more YOU in your business.

It’s time to get to work.  YOUR work.

xx becca

PS. I teach a program that helps you learn exactly how to stand out in an authentic way. It’s called Uncage Your Business, and it’s helped 100s of business owners like you learn how to make their businesses actually work. Enter your email here to be the first to know when the cart opens!






If you didn’t know (though I don’t know how you could have missed it, as there is more hype about it than ever this year!), B-School has started it’s promotions and the cart is opening for the program on Feb 18.

 

And like many smart business owners, you may be at that point where you want to invest in your business to take you to that next level (whether next level is getting your first paying client or creating the program that’s going to finally take you to 6 figures).

 

I get a LOT of questions about B-School and figured you can benefit from everyone else’s questions and my unbiased answers.

But first – am I really unbiased. I mean, I AM an affiliate for B-School, which means that if you sign up through my link, I get paid a commission. To make this feel a little better, I’m giving away FREE Message Therapy Sessions when you sign up through my link. I have seen too many clients go through the program and not be clear enough on the core of their business, and I want to make sure that if you’re investing, you’re super clear before you dive in.

So, am I unbiased? Yes. I’m not into making a quick buck just because I can. I know how shitty it is to be starting a business and have no money to invest, but you know you need to spend money to make money, and every dollar counts. I would never, ever want someone to spend $2k if they weren’t ready for the material yet. Or vice versa, if you’re way beyond the material.

So yes, I am as unbiased as they come. It would look bad on me if I blatantly recommended B-School to every single person ever, and the last thing I want to do is ruin my rep as an authentic business owner just to fill my pockets.

Here are some of the questions I got about B-School, with my personal opinions on the topic:

Did I read some where that you are affiliated with b-school? My question is – will your opinion be unbiased?

See above. And it’s still my opinion, so it will be biased, but not because I’m an affiliate.

At what point would someone be ready for B-school?

If you have a business or know what business you want to have, you’re ready. If you know you WANT a business but you have zero idea what that business is, or you have no idea what your niche is, I’d say skip it this round and work with someone to help you get more clear on what you want to do. This audio class (password = uncageme) that I give to my Uncage Your Business students will help you get started.

If you’re kinda sorta doing your business, but you’re also working full-time, have kids, and are generally super busy and your business is not your main focus right now, you likely aren’t in a place where you’re ready to implement the material. B-School is super action-oriented (as in, in Module 2 you’re building and revamping your website), and if you have zero time to implement, this might just be another resource that collects virtual dust.

But all of that being said, the content is available forever, so you can always buy now and dig in when you’re ready.
How much would it help someone already in business (but wants to take it to the next level)?

This depends on what “next level” means to you. Do you understand how your website converts and have it optimized to do so? Do you consistently put effort into list building and expanding your reach? Do you have packages and programs that can be leveraged and that SELL? Do you understand the different elements of marketing and how to get clients and customers to say yes?

If no, then for sure, B-School will help you.

If yes, then you probably don’t need B-School, and I’d say that some one-on-one strategy work with a high level business coach might be a better fit. Or maybe you need sales help? Or maybe your packages just aren’t right, and you need to revamp and start fresh? Only you know what you need, and B-School isn’t the magic cure for every single business.

That being said – the community is HUGE, and a lot of people say that it’s worth the value alone because of the new client prospects, the connections, the networking, the collaborations, not to mention getting your business and name out there in front of tens of thousands of people.

Is it overwhelming?

Yep, it sure can be. If you’re not super clear on your business (ie. you’re a coach but you don’t really know what kind of coaching you want to do or what makes you different) it can be VERY hard to implement. B-School requires you to own your expertise and take action in self-promotion right from the get-go. If you’re not clear and confident, it’s virtually impossible to do that.

Many people don’t actually follow the B-School schedule either. It’s laid out in an 8 week program, but many people take months or even years to complete it. It all depends on how much time you have to dedicate to it, how fast of an implementer you are, and how clear you are in your business.

Like everything, it is as overwhelming as you let it be. I personally gave myself a few months to slowly work through all the material. I was living in a van, on a 7 month roadtrip when I did it!

Is it really the go-to solution for all things business that it seems to be or is it just totally overhyped? 

For some people, it is. For others, it’s definitely not. It’s a great getting started online marketing program, that covers all your bases and gives you really solid places to start with your content, your marketing, your website, your conversions, and your communications.

But it’s not the be-all, end-all of business. After doing B-School, I hired a one-on-one business coach, I enrolled in a sales program to learn more about selling, I hired a PR expert to help me expand my reach, I bought a DIY branding and copywriting course to refine my skills, I enrolled in a group coaching program for accountability and clarity, and probably a few other courses and coaches I can’t even remember. B-School is not the be-all end-all solution to all  your business problems.

Either way, B-School is a fantastic start with modules that are super fun and easy to follow and understand, and well presented – a big problem other with a lot of online marketing programs. Marie makes it easy to grasp and super actionable – no fancy tech skills or prior knowledge needed!

Is the community really worth it, regardless of what business we’re in?

As you know if you’re a part of my Uncaged community, having people around who get it is invaluable in your business. B-School’s community is like that on steroids. It has over 10000+ people and counting and is a great place to network.

The community is moving off Facebook and onto Ning this year, so I can’t speak to what it will be like this year.

I have met some of my best online friends (not as weird as it sounds) in B-School. Many of my clients find me through the community. I have gotten interview and other PR opportunities by being known in the group.

So for me, yes, the community alone is worth it, especially if you make yourself seen there. You have a huge network people to ask for referrals and to help you grow your business – that’s pretty sick if you’ve been going it alone thus far.

Is it REALLY worth $2,000. Or can I get most of these resources elsewhere if I hustle my butt off?

You sure can get the info elsewhere. Nothing in it is a secret if you’ve been in the online marketing world for a while.  The thing about B-School and one of the reasons it has so many adoring fans, is that Marie makes it super accessible and easy to follow. It’s well laid out, it looks pretty, it’s offered in a way that makes sense and takes you through step by step, and it’s super actionable.

You could definitely source out this info on your own if you knew where to look, but that’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s hard to know where to look.

If I have 2 different ideas, will it help provide clarity on which is better?

Maybe. There is a pre-module that is called “Start The Right Business” that helps you get clear on which business is for you. It walks you through practical things to think about when starting a business – will it sustain your energy? Is there a market for it? Etc. If you have been waffling for ages, it’s unlikely to help you choose.

Part of the reason I am offering free Message Sessions when you sign up is so that I can help you get clear before you jump in. Many of my clients have a billion ideas that are all kind of related, and we tame them all down into what makes the most sense for THEM (and sometimes that means combining ideas, sometimes it means cutting one out). If you have a few ideas, we could certainly dive into that in our session to make sure you know exactly what you’re building before you start.

She certainly won’t continue to run this program forever. So, if the next round is going to be the last round, would you say it’s still worth the 2k, considering how long it can take to implement everything? 

Yes. The content will stay around forever and you get lifetime access, so even if the course stops running the material will still be available to you. That’s not an official statement, but I’d assume that she’d at least give you lots of warning and time to download everything before she shut ‘er down for good.

Would you have paid more than 2k for the program, considering that she’s constantly upgrading it and adding some new stuff in there?  

This is a really hard question to answer, so I’m going to give a really vague response – It’s all personal.

I once paid over $14k for a leadership program that I dropped out of, $6k for a degree I don’t use, and $5k for another program, that I never pursued. I don’t regret any of them.

If you are going to sign up, be really clear on why you are doing it, and then commit to making it worth it. Only you get to decide your experience.

When I did B-School, I already knew a LOT of the material. That didn’t mean I was implementing it, so I decided to use it as a structure to re-commit to taking action and to implement some of the things I knew I should be doing, but wasn’t. I also decided to drive value from the community instead, and that alone make it worth my moula’

You get to decide what you get out of it.

If you decide you want to do B-School AND you want to work together to make sure you’re crystal-effin’-clear before you start through a FREE Message Session with me, USE THIS LINK TO BUY.

By using that exact link, it will make sure that your purchase gets linked to my account, so that I can offer you your free session. If you click any other link, you won’t be tracked correctly and may not be eligible for the bonus. If you decide not to buy right away, just be sure to bookmark this page and come back to it when you’re ready. Once you buy, just send me your confirmation email and we will get you scheduled in for your Message Session!

You can read more about my bonus here.

xo becca

What other questions do you have about B-School? Post them in the comments below!

Let’s get to the point, yeah? MONEY.

You need it to have a business (otherwise you’re just running a REALLY time consuming hobby, which is cool if that’s what you want to do, but then don’t bitch about not making any money).

 

When you’re first starting out, the money part of your business can be suuuuper stressful. You’re totally broke, so you’re frugal as hell and won’t even spend $10 on your business. And at the same time, the thought of asking your clients for money is terrifying. You sound awkward and nervous and so not professional (and yes your clients can smell it). And nevermind the fact that even if you DID try to ask confidently, you have no idea what you should actually be charging.

 

So what’s a gal to do? Gotta spend money to make money, but gotta make money to spend money.

You have to start somewhere.

It’s like the chicken and the egg, except I doubt whether the topic has ever sparked any in deeper questions about how the world started.

I want to walk you through some of the most important things to think about when you’re just getting started with trying to figure out what the hell to charge.

First of all, you have to have a service. If you’re still stuck there, I’m the bomb (do people still say that? I do. Bringin’ it back) at helping you figure out what to actually offer.

But we’ll assume that you already know what you do.

So what to charge? This is a BIG question and there are lots of different opinions on it. And this is my blog, so you get my opinions.

Here’s what you need to think about when you price:

1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing? If it’s your very first rodeo, I’d suggest doing it for free (yep, that’s right, I love working for free), so you can make sure you’re actually GOOD at what you do. Testing things out for free also takes the pressure off, AND lets you get valuable feedback and make the necessary tweaks to your service before you ramp up the price.

You can plan something all you want, but at the end of the day, it might just not work out the way you had planned (it’s like dating the guy who looks good on paper, and then turns out to be the guy who sneaks you into the movie theatre so he doesn’t have to pay – it’s always the rich ones who are the cheapest, right?). So testing your services for free or Pay-What-You-Want is always a good way to start.

2. What amount feels good to you? Yes, this is a legit method of pricing. It doesn’t matter what anyone else charges (most people price their services based on their own insecurities about money anyway), you have to feel good about what comes out of your mouth when you tell your clients your prices.

At the end of the day, you can’t charge a number that makes you vomit when you say it out loud. You also can’t slap a price tag on something that makes you resent your clients because they’re stealing all your time and you can barely afford to pay your rent.

Choosing a number that feels good to you is mega important.

3. How much money do you want to make? It’s almost SO obvious of a question that we often overlook it. When I left on my 7-month rockclimbing trip last year, I decided that I wanted to make $250/month from my business. In fact, I decided I’d be STOKED if I made $250/month. I mean, I created something and people were paying me for it – at the beginning, that alone was incredible!

Don’t think about your longterm money goals here. Look at the next year and decide how much you’d be thrilled to make. And as much as I loathe the word – choose a number that is realistic (ie. If it’s your first year of business and you have no prior marketing or business experience, I wouldn’t be gunning to make $150k next year).

If you want to make $30k, and your service is $100, you can then do some math and figure out how much you need to sell to meet your make-money-money goals.

 4. How good is your website? Seeing as I’m hanging out with the amazing Lis Dingjan from The Identity this week, I’ve been all up in the world of websites and you guys – you NEED a good site if you want to charge premium prices! No, you don’t need a perfect site, but you do need to at least look legit (which means no photo with your partner cut out of it, no wordpress.com URL, no header image that is all stretched out because you couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to make it fit.)

Once you’re clear on your business (your WHY, WHO, and HOW), it is 100% worth it to start to invest.

And since we’re on the topic, let’s step away from pricing and talk about websites.

Here are some of my favorite website resources for every website budget:

Zero budget:

The Shindig – DIY your own basic website with this free video (one of the first things I ever made in my business! You’re welcome to laugh at me, but it gets the job done). I walk you through how to set up hosting, integrate wordpress, and install a free theme.

Small budget ($0-$100)

Grab a free theme from Theme Forest or BluChic. Get a nice header designed and your site will instantly look oodles more profesh.

Medium budget ($500-1000)

Brandburst is another excellent option (yes, I’m biased). You get a full messaging session to get mega clear on your WHY/WHO/HOW, a perfect tagline created for you, and a full color and font palette to fit your unique brand… and then everything is put together into a fully designed header. It’s the perfect get-started package.

If you hop into the community, there are frequently designers in there taking on new clients at lesser rates.

Big budget ($5000-10000)

Hire a designer to do a proper job for you. It is WELL worth the price, but only if you are really clear on what you are doing. The worst thing would be to invest and then change your business so much that your website doesn’t work for you anymore! A custom site will run you $8-10k and up, with some designers coming in at just under that if your site doesn’t require complicated functionality like e-commerce etc.

If you want to charge premium prices and rule the world (ok, maybe just rule your market), you have to have a good website. Start where you are and invest when you’re clear on your business.

Ok, website rant over… back to pricing.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you what you charge, but taking the above into consideration will help you take the UGH factor out of setting your prices.

 

Pricing doesn’t have to make you want to puke. You should be able to tell your clients what you charge without feeling like a total fraud (and if you do feel like a total fraud, investing in more training or getting more experience is probably not a bad idea.)

 

And remember, getting PAID is FUN. In fact it’s one of the funnest parts of business, because it not only lets you do fun shit like fly to Holland and then Morocco and then Paris on a whim (I’m writing this while on the tail end of that adventure), but it actually lets you have a bigger impact with your business by investing back into your work, so you can reach more people and save the world even more.

And who doesn’t want to save the world even more!?

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Where have you been waffling on your pricing? Decide right now on your price for your package or service. Set it, own it, and then post in the comments and tell us proudly how much you charge (note: this is also a way to promote your business, so take advantage!)

Attention all service based business owners (especially anyone in the realm of “life coaching”)

 

PICTURE THIS:

You’re hanging out at a dinner party and the douchy guy next to you (who has been trying to hit on you the entire night) finally takes a breath after talking about himself for 3 hours straight, and asks you what YOU do.

You reply with a slightly uncomfortable “I’m a life coach”.

And after he chokes on his drink because he couldn’t hold his snort to himself, he asks “What’s a life coach?”

And then you get into a long spiel about how you help people be their most authentic selves, create a life of purpose and passion, and live in alignment with their values”

Your gentleman friend slugs back his scotch and says “So, like, therapy?”

So you dive into the exact reasons why coaching differs from therapy (except, um, you’re still a little fuzzy on the exact differences, and while you do your best to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you start to see the guy’s eyes glaze over as he pours himself another single malt).

 

So you decide then and there that, OMG, you MUST figure out a better job title than ‘life coach’ (besides, you’re not a typical life coach, and you want a job title that really reflects your personality)

 

So you start playing around with words:

Life Strategist

Authenticity Activist

Passion Instigator

Or if you’re in another field: Business Fairy, Real-Food Diva, Happiness Optimizer, Word Chef, Design Gardener, Small-Business Flame-Thrower, Website Valet, Legacy Agent, *Fitness Dentist (*This option came out of a conversation with Lyndsay Rush about how people who make up these kinds of job titles tend to want to pull words from other industries. We giggled a lot, and the Fitness Dentist was born).

 

You get the point. Your clever job title makes no sense and no one has any idea what you’re talking about.

 

So you end up in the same situation as the poor life coach above, and you end up spending most of your time justifying your industry or taking in general terms (usually in a way that makes NO sense to the person you’re talking to), rather than actually giving people a clue about what YOU do, specifically.

Which clearly isn’t going to get you a client. Sure, it might be fine to put on your website if you already have a fun title in mind, but otherwise, skip it and learn to talk about what you do instead.

Now, I’m not a big fan of an “elevator pitch” or a “cocktail speech” (there’s nothing worse than the guy at a networking event who puts on his business voice and word for word recites his perfectly crafted pitch. Ughhhhh).

But there is something to be said for being able to explain what you do in a way that is succinct and MAKES SENSE.

Ideally, when you tell someone what you do, you want them to immediately think “OMG – I know someone who needs exactly that!”, then immediately call their sister and tell her to call her best friend and tell her about the amazing person they just met (that’s you).

And having a fancy and clever job title won’t help you do that.

Know what will?

 

Being able to tell people what problem you solve, using words they actually understand.

 

A fancy job title feels fun and cool, but it won’t get you business.

 

So if you’ve been struggling to come up with the perfect witty job title, I DARE YOU to stop the insanity and focus on talking about what you DO, instead of trying to fit yourself into the box of a title (because isn’t that like, the opposite of being Uncaged?).

 

It’s actually quite liberating, to let go of needing to have a job title. I dare you (and if you’re anything like me, you’re not one to pass up a dare).

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PS. If you’re looking for help creating your pitch and learning to talk about what you do in a way that has people pay attention (and doesn’t make you feel like a blubbering idiot!), check out my mini-course Say What?

I have been waiting for 3 days to write this post.

This week, I was semi-accused (twice) of copying someone else in my business, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. And I knew I had to write about it. I knew this was part of a bigger conversation.

I usually post on Tuesdays, but I just couldn’t sit down and write it. I stalled. Days passed. I procrastinated. I spent 3 days fucking around on Facebook doing NOTHING.

And then, last night, something happened. SOMEONE COPIED ME.

Word for word. Copied my sales page. Right there. My words on her page. In fact, the links on her page linked to MY CONTACT PAGE (because she copied so hard that she forgot to change the links).

 

So in a matter of days, it came full circle. I copied someone. Someone else copied me. And I knew there was a bigger message in all of this.

 

But I couldn’t write the post. I’m exhausted from all of it, to be totally honest. I’m over it. I’ve learned many lessons from many angles, and I’m making a vow to put my head down and DO MY WORK, without worrying if I’m copying  anyone, or if they are copying me. Time to get out of the Biz Porn vortex.

But it’s still an important conversation that needs to be had.

So god bless my friend Illana for writing this today. What’s posted below is blatantly copied from her site. You should check her out. She’s awesome.

The follow post was written by Illana Burk of Makenessmedia.com

When I started out several years ago… I tried really, really hard to not accidentally copy people. But I was consuming information every day. I was reading the shit out of bloggers I loved and respected. And despite my best efforts, their flavor came out of my fingers.

If you looked at my early stuff from four+ years ago, it probably looks like I was copying the crap out of people like Naomi Dunford (pre-public meltdown), Ashley Ambirge, and a few other well-knowns. I was even accused once of stealing from Danielle LaPorte because I called my first service ‘The Burning Question’ [I didn’t even charge for the service]. At the time I had no idea who Danielle LaPorte was. But it looked like I was borrowing nonetheless.

I wasn’t. At least not on-purpose. With most of the people I probably mimicked, I read their stuff. I liked their stuff. They got away with swearing. I wanted to get away with swearing. I bought their stuff. I told them how much I appreciated their work. I even sent Naomi a fancy pen [for which she never even said thank you… still bitter. I mean WHO DOES THAT? It was a REALLY nice pen.].

I was a copycat fan-girl once too. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t want to be. I just was. By accident.

Fast-forward a few years. A few hundred clients. A few thousand written words…

And now I have been copied. A few times. Once was no biggie. She “borrowed” heavily from posts I had written. She got zero traffic and a new enemy. The next one copy and pasted my services. All of them. That was two years ago. I sent a cease and desist letter that she ignored. Her url now goes to godaddy. Then there have been the more subtle few. A catch phrase here. Word-use there. But they all have one thing in common… they are almost all gone now. The more recent ones will be gone soon.

See, I know this because successful entrepreneurship takes a fuck-lot more than the occasional success [which is all someone gets from copying others 99% of the time].

And copying is UNAVOIDABLE.

Madonna copied Marilyn. Miley copied Madonna. Artists and creatives look at the world as a toolbox to play in. They borrow pieces from all over to make it their own. The cycle continues….

So someone copied your shit.

Who. The. Fuck. Cares.

Are they doing it as well as you? Are they finding success passing off your work as theirs?

Did they REALLY even copy you in the first place? Because using the same couple of words as you is not copying anyway. That’s just English. I don’t whine when someone else says fuck too much, now do I?! Laying out their website or sales page kinda like yours is also NOT copying. I mean how many places can a person put a header?

All great work is mimicry in some way. All great thoughts borrow from others.

If you hire me and I teach you things, and then you go teach other people those things, I am pretty happy about that. Because the GOAL was for my ideas to proliferate in ways that help you. If you’re teaching it to others, that means I DID MY JOB. That means you learned it so well that you feel comfortable teaching it to other people. I look at that as a win. Would it be nice to get credit? Sure. Do I give two shits if I don’t get credit? Nope.

I have an MBA. Am I ‘copying’ the work of others by conveying what I learned in that program? No. I paid for it. The whole point was for me to USE what I learn there. Teach others. Repeat. 

And the creative well doesn’t run dry if you are truly a creative thinker. If you are always angry that people are copying you, YOU might be the one who needs to look at their own work.

I listened to an interview recently with current crown prince of comedy, Louie CK. He was talking about the fact that he only uses the same material for a year or so, then tosses it and never looks back. He does what he does in such a way that he challenges other comedians to be better at what they do. And sure, he might get ripped off, but who cares? HIS version made an indelible dent in the world first. And the people that copied him [be it intentionally or unintentionally] will eventually fizzle, because they can’t keep stealing. So while he is in a constant state of reinvention… they have run out of gas and faded into the ether. [Unless they are Dane Cook. That fucker is like a bad penny.]

Anyway….

The point is, do you want to spend your energy whining about how someone stole a word or a design or a vibe from you? Or do you want to reinvent yourself into something brighter, bigger, more interesting?

The simple truth is that when we make our living writing words online and it’s a simple gesture of ctrl+c to be unoriginal, it is BOUND to happen.

You can either spend your creative energy worrying about it, or you can spend it coming up with something new to offer to the world.

You can either passive-aggressively whine about it on Facebook [using up valuable public equity] or you can work on reinventing whatever they copied. Usually, it’s about time to do that anyway.

Never forget that if your highest priority is TRULY to help others and see your work get out to the world, then having someone copy it is actually helping that cause not hurting it.

I want to wrap up with this clear disclaimer: Serious copyright infringement BLOWS. Copy and pasting word-for-word is a giant fucking no-no without permission. And you SHOULD protect yourself and defend your work. But I mean WORK, not syntax. The point of this article is not to encourage you, or anyone else to copy others. The point is that people need to chill the fuck out and worry about their own work more than they worry about other people stealing it.

And finally, I am inviting you and giving you my permission to copy this post. If you need some content for your blog this week, copy this and use it. Link back, don’t link back… I really don’t care. Seriously. Copy and paste every single word and post it on your site, if you want. Pass it off as your own. Take chunks of it. Use it all. Whatever. Credit would be nice, and would make you a good person, but I won’t be mad at you if you don’t give it. 

601661_10151689087798713_161528379_nIllana Burk of Makenessmedia.com

Designer. Thinker. Artist. Helper. Writer. Teacher. Lover. Learner.

MBA. Marketer. Business-Brainiac. Web-Nerd. Greenie. Foodie. Friend.

Finder. Seeker. Searcher. Grower. Creator. Maker. Mover. Giver. LikerTweeterPinnerLeader.

 

I would looove to hear your thoughts on this. We have already had a great discussion on the Facebook, but I’d love to hear how the fear of copycatting and/or the fear of BEING copycatted holds YOU back in your business. Do you hold back your ideas because “they’ve already been done”? Have you had someone copy you and felt cheated and used? LEt’s get this party started in the comments.

Yoga teachers, chiropractors, reiki teachers, osteopaths, personal trainers, and anyone else who runs a business that’s typically hands-on, something you physically have to be IN PERSON to do – this is for you!

You’re craving the online business lifestyle, yeah? But you feel totally stuck because your thing has to be done in person, yeah?

But does it? Really?

I want to open you up to an idea that might just change your life.

What if your thing could be whatever the hell you wanted it to be, and you could do it in whatever hell the way you wanted to?

Uh-huh.

 

Here’s what I think: I think you can bring just about any damn business you want online. I think you can come up with really awesome and unique ways to serve your clients without ever having to meet them in person.

 

And I think the best way to illustrate this will be to give you some really concrete examples. I love helping people come up with out-of-the-cage ways to make money in their businesses, and I think anyone can be creative with how they work with clients.

Here are some examples off the top of my head for how a few different businesses could bring in income online.

1. Yoga teacher

Record yoga classes and upload them weekly. Have people pay a subscription fee to access the classes.

Put together individual classes tailored to your current one-on-one clients. Send them their individualized class each week.

Put together a how-to guide for basic yoga poses, with videos and instructions on how to work through the basic poses and get the most out of your practice. Sell it as a digital product.

Teach other yoga teachers how to bring more connection/fun/whatever your thing is into their yoga teachings. Run individual sessions or group sessions.

2. Chiropractor

Choose a niche (Chiro for yoga teachers maybe? Brilliant!) and teach them how to incorporate really easy DIY chiro techniques into their practice/classes.

Write a book about why your spine health dictates your whole health, and focus on easy ways for people to improve spine health at home.

‘Fill a need that wasn’t met in chiropractic college (Empathy skills? Business building? Go with where your expertise lies) and run a group class for chiropractors teaching them that.

3. Personal Trainer

Take your clients over the phone and put together personalized programs for them, with instructional videos on how to perform certain exercises.

Choose a really specific niche (moms who wan to lose the baby weight/single post-college guys who want to get in the best shape of their lives), and lead a month-long group program with a plan of action and daily challenges/prompts to help get them there.

Create mini workout programs available via digital download that solve really specific problems (losing the baby fat/sculpting Beyonce-esque legs/working your way to your first half-marathon).

Love long distance biking? Climbing? Triathlon? Make that your expertise and hone in on creating programs tailored to helping these people. When you’re the EXPERT in your field, people will pay you big bucks just to get you on the phone.

And obviously, these are just a few of SO many options. Just because you’re running a hands-on business, doesn’t mean you have to do it in the traditional hands-on way. Pick a target market, narrow in, combine what you do with expertise from the rest of your life, and start creating something. You can do this right away too. You don’t have to wait to have a perfect website or a huge mailing list. Create something small now and start telling your clients about it. Word of mouth is the best marketing anyway, right?

 

Your business doesn’t have to go down the way everyone else does it, and this is so important to remember. I have heard of people getting push back within their communities for branching out in new and innovative ways, and I think that’s total bullshit.

 

Often, that pushback is because the rest of the community doesn’t understand what you are trying to do / they are stuck in the system and are too afraid to take matters into their own hands, so they’re jealous of your courage.

You don’t have to be ostracized by your community, and if you are, you might want to question how much of a “community” they really were in the first place.

Get excited about your new path for your business and talk about it in a way that feels inclusive and supportive of your colleagues’ choices, and you never know, you may just end up inspiring them to follow suit, and they will see you as their leader, rather than as that freak that decided to go rogue.

 

What do you think? Have you had a hands-on business and tried to bring it online? Or are you someone who is dying to break out of the system of your profession and do things YOUR way? Tell us in the comments below!
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I asked a question recently in my private Uncaged Lifers Facebook group about whether you’d choose perfect fulfilling work, or freedom and lifestyle, if you had to choose.

Would you rather have a job that was kind of “meh”, where the work wasn’t particularly fulfilling, if it gave you tons of freedom to work from anywhere with lots of time off OR would you rather have a super rigid job that works on someone else’s schedule, but be doing work that absolutely fulfilled you?

(FYI – Most people said lifestyle).

I asked this question because it comes up a lot for me when I see people trying to come up with THE perfect all encompassing business idea – the one that is perfectly in line with their values and their message and their lifestyle and their wants and needs.

And while I DO believe you can have both – work you love and lifestyle you love (and actually being able to make money) – I often see people making the work part of it SO precious that they will never feel satisfied. They think they have to come up with THE perfect business idea before they can move on (which leads, as you might imagine, to procrastination, self doubt, and basically getting nowhere). Which means they are unwilling to let go of their ideals (and ideas) and actually create something marketable. Just because you love you idea and think it’s great, doesn’t mean people will buy it.

 

Not everything is precious.

 

I first heard this line from a client of mine last year who is an artist. One of her art teachers once said this to their art class, indicating that if you put SO much stock in making the work you do perfect, holding it so near to your heart that it will never be good enough, you will suffer and your art will suffer.

And I believe that the same goes for business. Not everything you create is precious. Come up with an idea that feels pretty good, and get out there and make it happen.

Yeah, sure, I think we all have something about us that is special, and that we can create a business that is in line with who we are and what we’re all about. But if you’re waiting for your business to perfectly incorporate every single bit of your personality+quirks+passions+lifestyle+interests+hobbies+beliefs+values, if you’re not willing to move forward until you feel totally 100% clear that this is THE perfect business for you for the rest of your life – you’re fooling yourself.

I have yet to met anyone who has come up with an idea and stuck with it. No one. Not even me.

Things shift and change. Ideas mould and form and expand. And where you start will never be the same as where you end. Ever. Once you dig in, you might find that what you are trying to sell is way too vague, broad, or confusing for the people you are trying to market to.

Not every idea is precious. Not every idea will actually be something people want to buy. And you need to be willing to change what you’re doing to fit your market’s wants and needs. You need to be flexible about your offers and your ideas. If you cling to them too tightly, you may just find yourself climbing for dear life to business ideas that are not working. And the longer you cling, the harder it is to let go.

 

 

Sometimes, just making money doing something that feels pretty easy and fun to you, is enough. Not everything has to a manifestation of your life purpose, defined.

 

You don’t have to come up with a world shattering idea that only YOU can deliver. (In fact, I highly recommend you don’t try to do that. No need to reinvent the wheel, and it’s likely if you’re creating something totally new that no one has ever heard of or experienced, you’re going to have a hella hard time selling it).

Think about it. You could be slugging it out in an office, working for someone you loathe doing work you cold care less about. Or you could be working for yourself, on your own terms, doing work that you do actually kinda care about.

Which are you going to choose?

Dumb question right? Clearly, doing something you actually care about, for people you care about is WAY better than chumping it out at the job you couldn’t give a crap about. Even if the work you care about isn’t your ideal perfect dream job, it’s still a step in the right direction.

 

I think part of the problem comes from all the stuff that gets spewed out on the internet about creating work that fuels your PASSIONS. We are led to believe that we always beed to be striving for perfection, that we shouldn’t settle for anything less. And this puts a ton of pressure on us to figure out THE perfect thing. And when we can’t figure that out, we feel stuck and we don’t get anywhere.

 

We need to stop making everything so precious.

I certainly don’t feel like Uncaged is the PERFECT business for me. It’s getting there, and it’s always a work in progress. And when I started, I DEFINITELY didn’t have a crystal clear idea of what I wanted to do or where it was going to lead me. I just knew I needed to start something.

Please. I beg you. Take the pressure off yourself for everything to be perfect. If you want to do work you care about and have the lifestyle you want, you have to start somewhere and possibly sacrifice some of the pieces at first. You will continue to create a better and better version of your business as you go along.

And think about this: What if it will never be perfect? What if you will always be striving to refine something, to change something, to make something a better fit? If that’s the case, and there is no perfect endpoint, wouldn’t you rather get started now rather than waiting indefinitely for things to feel “just right”?

Think about it. And tell me what you think in the comments below.

And if you like this post, share it using the social media buttons below. I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there who need to hear this message.

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I recently got this question in an email and thought that the answer would make a great blog post (because I am sure the writer is not the only one thinking WTF MARKETING!?)

Marketing. I live in a little mountain town of 1,200 people and don’t quite know how to market to potential clients around the country. I’m a Health Coach and am structuring retreats for this upcoming year. How does one actually get in front of an audience {live or virtual} of interested individuals?

 

Ewww, marketing is a dirty word, right? Except that it’s not. Marketing can be fun, can feel good, and is something you need to totally fall in love with if you want to DO good in the world. Marketing really isn’t slimy. Just check out Marketing For Hippies if you don’t believe me. Marketing your small business is all about bringing your message to the world in a way that has people pay attention (and it’s the one thing you will never be able to stop doing in your business)

The real truth about starting a business is that when you are just starting out, you will spend at least 80% of your time on marketing, and the rest of the time doing the thing that you actually do.

 

It’s kinda how it goes. So you’re better off to start to LOVE the word marketing right from the get-go.

And the not-so-secret is that everything you do is marketing. Who you work with, what you do, who you are, and most importantly, how you talk about who you work with, what you do, and who you are.

When you’re a solopreneur, you are your brand, and how you show up in the world and online is your marketing. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, or have a perfect life. What it means is that you have to connect with people. That is marketing.

 

To market your business, you have to be SUPER clear on your message (what are you all about? what do you believe in? what makes your approach unique), WHO you work with, and WHAT you do, exactly.

 

And then you basically want to tell everyone you know about it. And hopefully they will hear it and think “OMG you read my mind” and start throwing all their money at you and then run to tell all their friends.

So the FIRST step to marketing is getting mega clear. That’s what I help my clients with. Once you have that clarity, it’s all about churning out GREAT content, programs, opt-ins, and getting your message out in front of as many people as you can, and the right people. Slowly, momentum will build, and before you know if you will have a list of raving fans from around the world. But it all starts with clarity in your message and having GREAT content.

I’m going to walk you through an example from my business on the type of clarity that you need to have to be able to market effectively. And then I want you to go through and do it for your own business.

My Message: I believe that life is meant to be lived, explored, adventured, and taken not taken so seriously, and I believe that creating work that you love in the form of your own location independent business (read: online business) is your ticket to freedom.

My Clients: Late 20s/early 30s women who have value freedom and adventure more than they do stability and routine, and are serious about starting their own business. They want to be able to do work they love and work from anywhere in the world, but more importantly, not have to follow anyone else’s rules. They don’t have a lot of dependents and are able to invest both their time and energy into business building. They’re smart, relatively tech savvy, ready to move forward and take action to move towards their Uncaged Lives.

What problems do I solve? My clients are struggling with their message, unsure on their niche, have too many ideas and can’t seem to focus in, have no idea how to put everything together into packages, and lack clarity about how to move forward with business (they are stagnant and stuck and frustrated and SO over watching everyone else succeed from the sidelines). They have often done other online programs about business but got nowhere because the clarity about what the hell their business IS, was lacking.

Now it’s your turn. Go through and answer these questions:

What is my message?

Who do I work with?

What problems do I solve for people?
If that was hard for you – you need to focus on answering those questions before you even begin to think about marketing. You can’t market a damn thing til you’re super solid on what your business IS and who you help and what you DO, exactly.

If that was a no-brainer for you, you’re totally ready to move onto marketing. Your next steps are to focus on creating blog posts, opt-ins, packages, guest posts, and free calls and trainings. These will all help you help your clients better, reach more people, grow your list, and ultimately mean more clients and more cash (cha-ching!).

If all of that feels confusing and daunting – you’re not alone. It IS confusing and daunting (which is why I created Meet Market(ing), where I literally do ALL of it for you. A lot of people spend too much time in this phase – clear on their business, but paralyzed when it comes to putting it all together and really NAILING their marketing materials and programs.

Remember that it takes time! When I started Uncaged I had NO idea what the hell I was doing in terms of marketing. Slowly but surely, it grew, and as my business morphed and became uber specific, the number of eyeballs that came to my site started to grow. Don’t expect overnight success (considering that’s not even a real thing), just keep at it, keep refining, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Take courses. Hire coaches. Learn from experts.

 

Take it seriously, but don’t take it too seriously (ha – how’s that for the most confusing advice ever!?)

 

Everything you do is marketing, so just keep doing your thing and things will start to take shape. Promise.

And if you’re DONE with DIYing everything or if you’re doing your thing but you don’t feel like it’s working and you have no idea how to turn it all into amazing marketing materials, let me take over.

Because marketing? It’s what will get your out of being stuck in your little mountain town and into working with clients from around the world. And the sooner you nail it, the sooner you’ll be bidding adios to begging for clients and saying hello to wait-lists and international fame and fortune (whatever that looks like to you).

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PS. If you know you need a little done-for-you love, book yourself in now for a Meet Marketing Session, where I’ll create you a 6 month content marketing plan full of blog posts, opt-in ideas, places to guest post, and new packages and services.

I used to be a nutritionist. Sort of.

I spent 2 years in nutrition school, learning how to clean up a messy gut with with an advanced supplement regime, how to prevent my goddamn adult acne by eliminating gluten from my diet, and writing lengthy protocols that would cure everything from candida to cancer.

I loved what I learned. It changed my life! But even more importantly, it finally gave me a marketable skill that I could start my own business with. Yes!! I swear, I had been looking for the perfect idea since I was 8 and used to make and sell my own NKOTB magazines in the schoolyard.

So I got started. I hired a designer and made cute little business cards. I led workshops and got my first clients, and I did everything I was taught to do. I did long intakes. I wrote my clients 30 page protocols with detailed menu plans, hundreds of dollars worth of supplements they needed to buy, and strict guidelines about how much water they needed to drink, how much sleep they should get, and how many times a day they should be taking a shit.

And while they wouldn’t say it outright (thanks for being so nice to me, clients!), I could tell it was not only overwhelming, but totally NOT what they were looking for.

And when I was writing these goddamn NOVELS for them, I wouldn’t admit it to myself, but I dreaded every single minute of it. I loathed putting together menu plans (I could barely keep a steady eating schedule myself), and it just felt wrong to be prescribing so many pills – what was I, Doogie Howser?

 

My business didn’t get very far. I lost interest. It felt like another crappy job that I didn’t want to do, which was obviously totally deflating, since I was banking on this being my career.

 

Fuck. Now what?

I took a year off. I travelled. I spent afternoons in the park, drinking wine with friends, slacklining, playing with cute dogs and chatting with cute boys. I climbed my ass off. I enjoyed being unemployed, but underneath it all, I was terrified.

What the hell was I supposed to do now? If nutrition wasn’t “it”, what was?

And all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks – what I LOVED about nutrition was that it gave people a choice about how they wanted to live. It made them feel awesome, so they could get out and live the rest of their lives, which is what ultimately mattered to me.

So why don’t I just create a business around THAT? Duh.

 

And that’s the moment that I realized that you don’t have to do everything the way you learned in your training, and also that you don’t even have to use your training if you don’t want to.

 

How freeing is that!?

Now, I work with SO many nutritionists (and coaches, and other service providers who are feeling trapped in their self-made businesses) who are in the same boat – they thought they had their perfect career planned, but they soon realize that for one reason or another, they don’t totally align with what they were taught. They feel like they have to abandon ship, or start over.

But really all they have to do is get super clear on what they DO believe about their chosen field/profession, and drop the rest.

It’s so easy to get trapped creating a generic business. I’m a nutritionist. I’m a coach. I’m a yoga teacher. I’m a fitness trainer.

Those all sound nice, on the surface, but deep down you KNOW that you are more than that. You know that you kinda-sorta hate the way you were taught to practice nutrition. You know you hate the way that you’re supposed to be all neutral and kinda woo-woo as a coach. You loathe that yoga is centered around skinny white girls.

 

So instead of letting those things you don’t like about being a ___________ hold you back in business, use them to make you stand out from the crowd.

 

If YOU are turned off by from yoga because of the stereotypical yoga girl (for example), you’d better believe there are clients out there who really want to get into yoga, but can’t stand to go into a studio and not feel comfortable in their own  skin (my studio offers brown yoga, queer yoga, and fat yoga, for example).

Be the one who offers a solution to a problem that drives you nuts.

Dare to stand out.

Dare to do things differently in your industry.

And all of a sudden, those years spent in training aren’t wasted, they are simply part of your story, part of your compelling message as to why people should hire YOU, instead of that generic, run-of-the-mill other person.

Take a stand for what YOU believe in, and your business will skyrocket.

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*This is a guest post by the amazingly talented and always the real-deal Illana of Makeness Media

About a year into my business, I got talked into taking an online course on how to create online courses. I have no idea how I got roped in [I’m not much of a joiner]. Actually, that’s not true. I do know. A friend of mine who I respected a lot thought the woman who taught the course was some kind of magical money-making, unicorn-riding rainmaker. And since, a year in, my little business wasn’t raking in the bucks, I dropped my standard indignant, “I don’t need that, I have an MBA,” attitude and signed up. I couldn’t afford it. Like, at all. But I stretched, because I didn’t want to miss the boat. I wanted to be part of the little universe she had created.

Before the course, I was plugging away. Learning, growing, reading, creating. Things weren’t moving fast, but they were moving forward. I was working on a cool product line, and my audience was growing.

But I got impatient, so I signed up for an over-priced course that taught mostly stuff I already knew or could have easily found with some creative Googling.

A year later, the same teacher had roped a bunch of people who were/are very smart, and who I deeply respected, into course after course, a mastermind, and a mentorship program.

She took a lot of money from a lot of people who deeply trusted her with both their pocketbooks and their dreams.

And then she vanished.

Poof.

Over the eighteen months she was in business, she sold A LOT. Her buyers became dependant on her. They craved her approval – which she dangled just out of reach.

Did she set out to rip people off? I doubt it. I think she actually meant well. I think she actually thought that she had something to offer. And she probably did – but whatever it was got so watered down by being packaged and repackaged and repackaged that she lost sight of it altogether. Competitiveness and greed got the better of her. She wanted to compete at the top more than she wanted to serve.

As a result, she went so far astray, that she shook the confidence of people trying to do good work in the world – the opposite of what she set out to do.

I’m sure that when she started out, she started just like you – full of good intentions, but inundated with marketing advice. Messages telling you what to do, how to be, how to look, and what to say. Everyone has a system. Everyone has a plan. Everyone has a way of spinning their thing to sound like heaven’s honest gospel. And some of it actually is. But some of it isn’t. Some of it will teach you all the wrong things. Some of it will twist your magical little business into something you barely recognize – something that takes your attention away from what you actually set out to do.

So how do you tell the difference? How do you insulate yourself?

 

How do you make sure that you neither fall for the bullshit nor accidentally become the bullshit? How do you maintain your integrity to create an ethics-driven brand?

 

In the simplest terms, you develop your own code of ethics.

The following are the six questions I ask myself every time I come across a new opportunity. They are my compass. My North Star. The center-point of how I drive an ethics-driven business.

 

Before I make any decisions, I ask myself:

1.   Is it good for me? And by me, I actually mean: my health, my family, my lifestyle, AND my pocketbook.

2.   Is it good for my people? And by people, I mean YOU.

3.   Does it put people before profit? Money is important. People are more important.

4.   Does it put something unique and high-quality out into the world? Does it serve my higher purpose of leaving the world a better place than I found it?

5.   Does it provide an opportunity for greatness and/or growth?

6.   Does it pass the gut test? The best decisions come easily and without the knot in your stomach that comes with doubt.

But here’s the most important part: Don’t take my word for it. Come up with your own set of ethics. Only you know what’s most important to you, and only you can hold the line of what you and your business stands for.

What questions are part of your moral compass? Add to the list in the comments below.

 

BW photoIllana Burk is the brains behind Makeness Media and is an expert in integrating design, copy, and user-experience to develop revolutionary brand stories. She specializes in clearing away the bullshit that’s getting in the way of your business connecting with the right people. Her signature service, Brand [R]Evolution, re-visions your brand to convey the clearest, most resonant version of your highest-value message. You can read her insights at www.makenessmedia.com and can reach her on Twitter @illanaburk.

‘Figure It Out Friday’ is a new weekly blog series where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do.

 Question:

The thing I’m struggling with is deciding if it’s worth starting a business (a very small, low start-up cost, low maintenance business) that is NOT my passion but that will allow me the freedom to explore my passion until I can turn THAT into my uncaged career?

Answer:

I’m actually going to start my answer with a reply-post from another reader (as this question was posted on my Uncaged Lifer Facebook group – which you are a part of, right?)

“I did just what [original poster’s name] has suggested in her first comment and I’m finding it tough to stay motivated/find time for my dream business (dream business that I want to make my REAL LIFE business that is!) That being said, I’m super grateful to be my own boss and not have to continue in retail etc. and really learn the ropes of owning a business too. Nevertheless, I’m struggling to find a balance {being a business owner is really no joke it seems!}.”

Bingo. Starting a business is NO JOKE. If there was a simple, easy business that would make us all rich quickly, I’m sure we would all start it.

For several reasons, I’d be wary of starting a project if your heart really isn’t in it. I mean, the ONLY reason most business owners get through all the nitty gritty day-to-day crap in their business is because they are SUPER connected to the bigger cause. If you’re totally not psyched about what you’re doing, you’re basically just working any old job, but likely working WAY harder than you would at any old job.

So my gut response is NO to this question.

But (and there’s always a but)… Actually, I have two BUTS:

BUT #1: I’ll all up on my soapbox lately about tying different parts of your life together. So I’d be curious what it is about this non-passion business that you’re actually attracted to? There must be something interesting about it? Can you find something you love about it, something that ties into your passion business, and try to meld the two together in some way? Or can you use some of what you want to do in your passion business, in this placeholder business? Let’s say you want to be a writer, and your placeholder business is a cleaning business* (may or may not be a hypothetical example). What if you could become known in your cleaning business for the amazing blog posts you write about how much cleaning sucks and how they should hire you instead? Or your stories about how Cinderella could have really shown those nasty bitches who was boss if she had just learned a few key cleaning tips? Or whatever. Do something that excites you in your placeholder business or else you WILL likely go insane.

BUT #2: It’s never so black and white. Sure, you need money in the meantime, so either get a job or start something that will make you quick cash, AND be sure to be working on your real interest in the meantime. Start it as a project and see where it takes you. Not having the pressure to make it a business right away can actually be a really good thing!

Starting a business isn’t exactly a quick way to make money, so unless you have a business idea that you KNOW will bring you income right away (and please, do share what it is so all the struggling business owners out there can also take it up as a side business!), I’d almost say that it would be WAY less work and hassle to just get a regular job and work on the thing you actually give a crap about in your spare time.

What do you think? Have you started a placeholder business while you worked on your real business? How did it work out for you? Share in the comments below!

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‘Figure It Out Friday’ is a new weekly blog series where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do.

QUESTION:

I’m just getting started out with my new coaching business, and it feels so scary to be starting from scratch. I was in a corporate job for 9 years and I always knew what I was doing, but this is totally new and it’s like I’m at the very beginning again! My husband wants me to have a plan to know how much money I will be making, but I have no idea what to tell him! How long will it take me to actually be making money as a new coach?? What kind of progress can I expect?

ANSWER:

Ok, I’ll admit. I may have saved this question to be sneakily timed with the launch of the self-study version of Coaching Business Jumpstart. But hey, I have to promote my stuff somehow yo!

Self-promotion aside, my answer to this question is totally legit.

 

You are NEVER starting from scratch. If that were true, it would mean that all your past life experiences mean  absolutely nothing and that all those years of hard won lessons were for nothing.

And that’s not how life works.

 

Your experience now is a sum total of all of your past life shit – jobs, skills, traumas, travel, grief, joy, mistakes, regrets, lessons learned and experiences had.

And those things are going to be what you build your business around.

Here’s the sneaky thing about building a coaching business – it’s not really about the coaching. What I mean is, it’s your expertise and your bigger picture message (and the tangible results associated with it) that people are going to pay you for. Coaching is simply a skill that you use to bring your expertise out into the world. Your expertise is NOT coaching. It’s something else. Something you’re already good at. Something you care about like, a LOT, because you already have so much experience with it.

 

There we go. I said it. I don’t believe “coaching” is a viable business model unless it’s centered around your unique expertise.

 

Yes, this kind of means you have to choose a niche. But it’s so much more than that. It means you get to use EVERYTHING you have learned in your past and center your business around something you actually give a shit about, and then use your new skill of coaching on top of all that expertise.

Which means that instead of starting at the bottom like Drizzy, you’re starting at the top and simply adding more value to what you do with your new skill of coaching.

So you should never think of yourself as a “new” coach, you should think of yourself as a seasoned expert in _________, and know that you already have all the experience you need to get your clients results.

Of course, you have to have a clear sense of what your expertise is and who you want to work with, and then you have to learn to build your business around it (which is exactly what Coaching Business Jumpstart teaches you to do).

Ok, so all that being said…

 

How long will it take you to start making money? I mean it when I say that it seriously depends on how fast you can get known as the expert at what you do.

 

On average I would say it takes about 1.5-2 years to get to the place where you feel really solid in your business (and those first few years are usually spent playing around with different projects). It doesn’t mean you won’t make any money before that. It just means that it might take that long to really hone in on your sweet spot, have a sustainable client flow, and learn to leverage your time so you’re not continually exchanging time for money. BUT – if you learn how to center your business around your specific uniqueness right from the beginning and avoid the generic “I help empower people to live from their values and be their best selves” kind of coaching jargon (which NO ONE in the real world really understands anyway), it will happen much much faster for you.

It also depends, of course, on how much hustle you have in you. How excited are you about learning sales and marketing (hint: you’ll do much better if your answer is “SO EFFING EXCITED!”). How willing are you to work your ass off and continue to invest in business training, learn, refine, learn, refine, repeat, until it’s working for you (hint: you’ll do much better if you’re really ready to go all-in in your business).

The honest truth is that you will spend more than 80% of your time in your new business learning how to run a business, rather than actually doing the thing that is your business. So the faster you can get on board with the nuts and bolts of how to actually get clients and make money, the faster it will happen for you (what a redundant statement, right!? But so many people neglect to actually learn that part)

 

In short, if you want clients to come to you (instead of having to hunt them down), learn how to market your expertise in a way that gets you known FAST.

 

We teach you how in our Jumpstart program. And this doesn’t just go for coaches. ANY service based business that is kind of obscure or generic or saturated, you will need to learn to market yourself so that you stand out from the crowd with a compelling message and clear expertise.

And it’s when you do that that your business will really start to take off.

So in essence, your success rate is up to  you.

Pretty cool, right?

I’d love to hear what you think about marketing your expertise. Have you tried this approach? Do you still feel stuck in figuring out what makes you stand out from the sea of other coaches/health coaches/designers/horse whisperers? Tell us in the comments.

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One of the main struggles I see with my clients and the other wanna-be entrepreneurs I’m connected to, is that they come at their new business with this all-or-nothing mentality. They think they have to have it ALL figured out before they start, or else they can’t start.

This happens especially when people are trying to figure out what services to offer, and how to package their products. And most people go about it all backwards (myself included – I totally did this!).

You think about what you might want to offer, then you spend tons of time thinking about how to package it, writing website copy for a sales page, deciding on pricing, and getting the nuts and blots figured out… but you do all this BEFORE you have even tested out your service!

Enter income projects. I first learned about this term from my colleague Alex Baisley, and everything clicked.

 

What if instead of starting a business, you just started a small project to see how it feels to actually be doing what you think you want to be doing. Like, in real life. With real people. On a really small, no-pressure scale.

 

So instead of having to make the logo, and come up with the business name, and create the website, and write a sales page, and start a Facebook group and all the other stuff most people think are the first steps – what if you just started actually doing your work with people? And you get to make a little money on the side by charging a nominal fee while you test out all your different ideas (hence why it’s called an income project).

Income projects are great because they take all the pressure off, and they don’t feel as heavy as “starting a business”. And they can usually be done in a matter of a week, so it’s not like you need endless time to plan it.

Here’s a real life example of how an income project might work: Dale has a cooking business where she caters events and bakes super unique cakes for special occasions. She wants to start building her business more online, and wants to start offering online cooking classes, but she’s trying to figure out if this is a good idea or not. So take the mystery out of it and test it out! What Dale could do would be to grab a friend or a current client and say “Hey, I’m thinking of doing cooking classes online. Will you be my guinea pig?”. Then she can figure out a rough idea of how she might like to structure it, and test it out with her friend/client for free or for a low cost.

Another example: Lindsay can’t decide if she wants to start a business based around graphic design, or copywriting, or baking, or fashion coaching. So she might start 4 different income projects to test out these different ways of working with people and see what she enjoys. “Hey, friend, I think I want to start a fashion coaching business. I know you suck at dressing yourself and that you have that big interview coming up. Can I work with you to help you choose the perfect outfit, and see how it goes?” Easy Peasey. She might also connect with someone from the new Uncaged Lifers Facebook group and say “Hey – I’ve always been a writer and I think I want to try my hand at copywriting. Can I help you craft the perfect tagline? I’ll only charge ya $25 as long as you write me a sweet testimonial (if you love what I create for you)” Bam – another income project! Lindsay gets to help someone and test her ideas, and her friend gets some free help and can offer great feedback about how it went on her end, as the client.

Starting a project will help you will learn a TON about how you want to work with people, what works and what doesn’t, but  you’ll get great feedback (and maybe even your first testimonial!). And then you can tweak and change and try it again and your services will just start to fall into place.

 

Instead of sitting  there and trying to hammer things out through thinking, you get to let them evolve organically by doing.

 

Then when you know what you LOVE doing, when you know what you’re GOOD at what you’re doing (based on the feedback you get), and you start to get the feeling that you might want to expand on what you have already tried, then you can start to think about how these projects might take shape as actual business offerings.

Doesn’t that feel so much better than trying to figure it all out ahead of time? NO ONE* (*actual statistic) got it right on the first try. All the people you see killing it online are killing it because they worked their way up through trial and error to eventually find their perfect sweet spot.

Start a project, not a business. It’s WAY easier and will actually get you there faster, because it will take the pressure off AND it will let you finally get started doing something. Sounds way better than being stuck in “I have to get it right!” mode and thus doing nothing, right?

I’d love to hear from you! Are you having trouble figuring out what to offer? What is an income project that you could test out this week that would help you get started? Post your income project idea below and maybe someone in the comments will be willing to be your first test client!

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Figure It Out Fridays’ is a new weekly blog series  where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do

Question:

I have a hard time choosing one business or area of focus and just going with it. Something else inevitably pop up and I think “Oh yeah maybe that’s a better idea, maybe that’s my true passion”.  Identifying my passion is hard for me. I feel like I could have several passions, but again, I don’t know which one to choose, which one will be the “best” business option. Underlying it all is probably a fear that what if it doesn’t work, what if I pick the wrong one? How do I choose?

Answer:

This is a struggle I hear about ALL the friggin’ time. From my clients, from my friends, from random strangers when I tell them what I do. It’s such a problem that I’m designing a brand new coaching package to help people discover their brilliant business idea. I’m already working with some clients testing out my system, and they are coming to some amazing a-ha moments and even more amazing creative business ideas. Super fun. So stay tuned for that.

Here’s my take on the whole “I can’t seem to choose” dilemma: “Passions” are different than interests.

 

An interest or a hobby is just that, something you like to do. “Passions” (if we must keep using that word), are deeper. They’re what you care about. A lot. They’re how you see the world, and what you want to change about the world. In essence, passions are things you really give a shit about.

A big shit.

 

So you need to drill down your ideas to the WHY behind them, the “give a shit” factor behind them. Why do you care about that idea so much? Why does your idea matter, to you and to the world? My friend and colleague Tad is in the middle of writing a great blog series about marketing your message, and I’d highly recommend you read it if you’re stuck in the “which idea do I choose” trap.

 

When your business is centered around a core foundational message, any of your ideas are fair game.

 

Picture a bicycle wheel (or a flower, if that’s more your thing): Your message/your WHY/your purpose/that thing you really really care about, is at the center of that wheel. That’s your bigger picture for having a business. Then, all the spokes (or petals) are all the ways that you can then deliver that message to the world. And there are infinite numbers of ways. If your message is about empowering women, you might do that through teaching them to manage their finances, or how to build their own website, or how to love their bodies more through dance classes, etc etc. There are literally thousands of ways you can deliver your message. So then it becomes about narrowing down the spokes/petals that fit your strengths, your skills, your interests, and equally important, which ones people will actually pay for. 

 

So in essence, being super clear on your deeper message is how you will be able to string all your random ideas together into one common theme, and that theme will be what you base your business around.

 

So then you don’t necessarily have to choose from your ideas, and they will naturally start to come together into one bigger idea. And, if something doesn’t work out or isn’t feeling like a fit, you don’t have to change your whole business, because it’s centered around your one foundational theme. Instead you can just start to switch up your services, as long as your message is consistent and clear.  That’s important.

The other thing I’ll say is that not every one of your interests/hobbies/passions has to be part of your business. Remember – you will still have a life outside of your business (let’s hope). So you’ve gotta build a business that lets you have the lifestyle that you want, so that you don’t start to neglect all those things you love and go batshit crazy because all of a sudden your whole life is work and whatever happened to the days you used to spend baking, and doing yoga, and travelling!?

 

Another possibility, and one I really love: you might even incorporate all your interests in really cool but small ways into your business.

 

For example, if you have a coaching business, and you really love baking, you might incorporate baking into your business by sending new clients really awesome thank you packages of fresh baked cookies. How cool would that be? (and also, can I be your client, please!?) It would set you apart from the crowd and let you still do what you love, even though you’re not getting paid for it. Another way I’ve seen someone do this: Amanda Aitken of Girl’s Guide To Web Design is totally intuitive. In fact, she’s actually created a whole new offshoot of GG2WD, Creative Bloom, where she incorporates her psychic abilities right into her brading and design business. Bad.Ass.

So… the moral of the story is: If you can get really clear about why you care about all your random ideas, and tie them together with a common theme, you might not have to choose just one. AND, you can still have all your hobbies and passions and interests even if they aren’t a main part of your business.

And that’s how you can beat the multipassionate/shiny object syndrome/scanner trap and actually get over the “But what about that! or that! or that!” dilemma, and actually CHOOSE something and get to work. Because trying something is always better than trying nothing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re someone who has a bunch of different interests, can you pull out a common theme or message that underlies them all? Share your interests and your theme in the comments (and if you can’t find the theme, maybe someone will be nice enough to help out :)

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Here’s what usually happens when you start a business: You’re excited about it! You make your cute little DIY website, you take all the business courses, you start a Facebook page, and for all intents and purposes, you’re a proud business owner.

Sure, you’re hustling your ass off, the clients aren’t really coming in as fast as you’d hoped, and your confidence is kinda low. Maybe you’re struggling to sell yourself because you’re not even sure you if you would buy what you’re selling. But you keep pushing forward, figuring that there must be another business course, or book, or program, or coach out there who can help you fill in the gaps and amp up whatever it is that you’re missing in your business. You’re determined to be successful!

 

So you fork over all your hard earned business income on courses that teach you things you already know, on books that reiterate what you’ve learned in those courses, and on coaches who try to help you implement everything you have learned. But you still feel stuck. You’re not moving forward.

 

So you figure you probably need a rebrand. It must be your website! Yes yes yes. This is the problem. So you spend hours on canva re-doing all your headers and graphics and swapping out your wordpress theme for something flashier and changing your opt-in yet again and YES – this should do it!

But you’re still not psyched to put yourself out there. In fact, you get nervous every time you have a new client consult, and you kinda secretly hope they won’t hire you. Especially now that your website looks so professional, you’re worried they’re going to expect more than you can give. And you’re not entirely sure you can deliver. Your confidence is in the pits.

You so want to be putting yourself out there like all the other people you see online. Why are they so fucking confident? Why don’t you feel the urge to tell everyone in the world what you’re up to?

 

You’re totally sabotaging yourself. And here’s why: You’re not running the business you WANT to be running, the  business you’re MEANT to be running. So everything is falling flat.

 

Something is off. You’re either copycatting, or doing what you learned in school but it’s not what you REALLY want to be doing, or you’re taking on all the wrong clients because hello, you need MONEY!, but it doesn’t feel very good at all. Basically, you’re making things really hard for yourself.

This happens all the time. I swear to god, it recently happened to me in my business back in the day. It’s almost laughable now, how long it took me to realize it. I hired the best business coach out there, and nothing we were doing was working… until our very last session when she flat out said to me ‘Becca…  I don’t think you want to be doing this”.

Ugh. Shit. How did she know?

She knew because it was obvious. It was obvious to me long before I even hired her. I just didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to carry on with what I’d created, and not have to make the hard decision to let go of the way I was doing things. It was scary! And it was kind of embarrassing. Me, the Uncaged coach, was still going shit I didn’t want to be doing. It was subtle, but it was there, and I was pissed at myself for it!

And I tell you this because I see it happening in other people’s businesses ALL the time.

Some common signs:

You’re not putting in the effort to actually implement all the things you learned in all your business courses.

You procrastinate.

You constantly compare yourself to everyone else, and you feel like you’ll never measure up.

Your confidence in what you do is pretty non-existent.

You’re not excited about your business and you’re envious of the people who you see rocking their stuff, because you want that!

But you just don’t feel the drive to do anything about it.

 

But the big secret is that when you’re doing things in your business 100% YOUR way, it’s easy.

 

There is NO competition. It becomes easy to sell yourself, because your confidence goes through the roof. You’re stoked to get up everyday and do your work, promote yourself, and bring in the clients, because you fully believe that you’re the best at what you do. And if your business isn’t quite right, if you’re not working with the right clients in the right way, and you’re not connected to your bigger message – there’s no way that it will grow. It just won’t.

 

So here’s the deal. You don’t need another business building course to teach you stuff that is just going to make you overwhelmed. You don’t need another program, or book, or rebrand. You need to get super clear on what you are doing in your business and cut out all the crap that doesn’t fit your main focus.

 

What is it, exactly, that you wish you could change? If you could do your business any way you wanted, what would you do?

And then you need to take a deep breath, let go of the way you have been doing things, and make some serious changes. It’s scary and it’s hard. But it’s also super exciting! Because you will finally be running a business that works for you, and I guarantee that when you step into doing this, things will start to fall into place. Clients will come. Money will come. Everything will become so much easier.

If you’re feeling stuck in business and getting the itch to take yet another business building program, start by asking yourself if you have already implemented everything you have learned in the other courses you’ve taken. If not, why not? What parts of your business are you not feeling excited about? And how can you change them so they’re more in line with what you really want to be doing?

And if you can’t quite figure out how to put it all together or how to figure out what’s not working, I help my clients do just that. Hit me up and we’ll Uncage your business. It’s often hard to see our stuckness ourselves (that’s why even though it’s my job to help people see where they’re not working in their sweet spot, it still took me thousands of dollars in business coaching to have me see it in my own business. Duh. But that’s why coaches have coaches.)

I don’t let my clients off the hook until they’re totally confident in what they are doing and they wake up excited to get to work. I’m mean like that.

So get off Facebook, get off Twitter, stop fucking around worrying what everyone else is doing, and stop investing in more how-to skills that you don’t need right now… and FOCUS, from the inside out, on creating the business you actually want to run.

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PS. The next round of Uncage Your Business starts soon. If you need a month of cutting the crap and zooming in on YOUR business focus, join us. It’s been called the course to end all courses.

‘Figure It Out Fridays’ is a new weekly blog series  where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do.

Question:

How do you convince people/potential clients that you and your business are just as legitimate (if not more!) than big businesses or corporations?

Answer:

Oh boy. Oh crap. Ok, I have a lot to say about this one. And I’m going to do my best to boil it all down into the two most important bits.

 

First of all – you should never have to work that hard to “convince” anyone anything about your business.

 

If someone needs convincing, you can bet they’re going to be a huge pain in the ass to work with. And why would you want to work with someone who is a huge pain in the ass? You don’t.

I’m not gonna get into the psychology of marketing, but here’s the 101 version: Market to your IDEAL clients, and you’ll never have to do any convincing to anyone, because your clients will be coming to you and banging down your door to work with you, instead of you begging them to hire you.

Ok, now that that’s settled, here’s the other part of the answer:

This question is basically just another way of asking “How can I prove I’m good at what I do?”

I get asked this a lot (especially by people who want to be coaches… Which I posted about on Facebook, and started this  ridiculous odeal), and my answer is always the same:

 

No one gives a shit what school you went to, how many letters you have behind your name, or what diplomas are hanging on your parents basement walls. What people care about are results.

 

They want to see the proof in the pudding (what does that even mean? Hold on, Imma Google that shit. Ok, got it. It comes from the phrase “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, meaning you have to actually eat it to see how good it is. Ok, now that that’s cleared up…)

The proof is in the pudding. In other words, the way to be legit is to actually work with people and get results (and them ask for sweet testimonials to slap up on your website). Get proof of your pudding. That’s the only thing you need to do, and the faster you do it, and start talking about it, and start pimping it out, the sooner you will get recognized as the expert at what you do, which will further this cycle of social proof.

Which is what will make sure that you never had to convince anyone ever again that you’re legit.

And just a note: I’d HIGHLY recommend getting this proof before you go all out with starting your business. It’s a great way to test your ideas, to see how the market responds, and to learn what you like doing and what  you’re good at. Something can sound great on paper, when you actually try it out you might realize you hate it, or worse, that you suck at it.  The easiest way to do this is to create a mini-version of your business and test it out on real people in exchange for feedback. If you want to be a coach, take on two clients and test out your skills. If you want to be a copywriter, find a few entrepreneurs and do their copy for free. You’ll learn heaps more than just sitting back and planning, and you’ll get some sweet proof to show to all the people who still need “convincing”

Lastly, pay attention to where in your business you’re working too hard to please other people, and then cut that shit out right now!

Your turn! Tell me in the comments where it still feels like you need to prove yourself in your business, and we’ll jam on how you can shortcut the process to success!

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If you’ve been reading Uncaged for a while, you know that there’s a few things I’m pretty in love with:

Rock climbing!

Traveling!

Inspiring people!

Making my own rules!

Yoga!

Eating!

Scotch!

 

And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and hazard a guess that your fine self also has many, many interests. I mean let’s face it – have you ever met anyone who only likes ONE thing? Maybe you have. And you know how horribly dull that person was to talk to. You are not that person.

If you’re reading Uncaged, it’s likely because you’re not happy with your life, and you want a new one (cool! you’re in the right place)! And some of the advice that I love to preach is about creating your own dream job so you get to do what you love, in your own terms.

But, with all these different things you love about life, how the hell are you supposed to nail them down and figure out EXACTLY how to put everything you love into a neat little package (ie. your ideal job)?

 

Clue: the answer is that you’re not.

 

Oops, I guess that wasn’t really a clue, was it?

 

But here it is again – YOU’RE NOT.

 

There is so much bullshit advice on the internet about how to create a business based on your passions. To be honest, I’m kinda sick of the word passions. (Now accepting applications for a new word).

The problem is – you love a lot of things. And often, those things conflict, or at least don’t quite fit together in a way that makes sense.

So when people (like me) on the internet go out and tell you to build a business based on your passions (insert new word here), you get your panties all in a knot because you can’t figure out how the fuck to combine sewing + hunting + photography together into a business that will make you money. Or, for that matter, a business that people will even understand.

Take a breath. Unwind that lacy thong of yours. And listen up.

 

You DO NOT have to combine every single quirky passion of yours into a business. In fact, please don’t. You will confuse me, and everyone else, and no one will ever get what you’re all about. Being the photographer who takes pictures of people’s dead deer they’ve hunted and then hand sews little “Shot ’em dead!” totes for the hunters might sound like a great idea to you, but your market is gonna be a litttttle obscure.

Here’s what you’re gonna do instead:

1. Pick one.  Consider a) Which you love doing more than anything and feel a calling to move towards business wise b) Which you would actually still ENJOY doing once your whole life centers around it, and c) Which people would actually pay for. In that order. The love of whatever it is you’re doing has to come before worrying about making money. For biz purposes, it’ll be easier for you to pick one. And for job satisfaction purposes, you’d better pick one that you’d do for free.

2. Get uber clear (in your mind, on your website, when you talk to people) about what, exactly, it is that you do. If you’re a photographer  – what do you shoot? Who do you love working with? Why do you think great photos are ESSENTIAL to living a happy life?

3. Find ways to incorporate your other funky hobbies into your business without them being the main player in your biz. A photographer who loves sewing? Maybe you sew your clients handmade thank you pillows. Or little cloth changepurses with your website address on them. Whatever. Find ways to use the skills you have to incorporate into your main business. You’ll be seen as out of the box, fresh, and most importantly – you’ll be memorable and interesting

4. Make sure, whatever you do, that you create your biz in a way that affords you the lifestyle you want, so that you actually have time to do all those other hobbies you love. If you create a biz that leaves you no time to do what fuels you, you’ll crash and burn and your dream career will start to feel like just another chump job.

 

So stop listening to all the jumbled advice on the internet, PICK something, and go for it, already.  The world awaits your creative genius, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be able to find exactly what you have to offer anywhere else.

Someone was telling me recently that I’ve been heavy on the biz advice lately, and I guess that’s because I’m SO damn in love with the freedom that working for yourself gives you, that I like to yell it from the virtual rooftops. Hang tight though, lots of non-business-y stuff coming your way soon.

Now, off to have a nap (one of my passions!) in between coaching calls (passion!) on my day off from rock climbing (passion!) and before I cook my friends an uber healthy and delicious dinner (passion!).

And seriously. We need another word for passion? In the comments – GO!

And if you know that running your own business is the only option, click here to get the free training that will walk you though how to decide WTF business you should start.

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Life/Lessons

Ask me anything – a crowdsourced end of year review How to use retreats to build your Uncaged business How to instantly make more money in your business How I grew my business quickly (free training) Why most new businesses fail (especially online) Beta testing – Why And How You Need To Do It How to create money to pay for things How to turn $5 into $22000 What is real life? 5 ways to get your ROI when you invest in business help Should you list your prices on your website? Birthday Bumps at Uncaged How to Protect Your Business Legally So No One Steals Your Work How I Became Successful In Business Reese Ben-Yaacov Copied My Programs Why Being a Cliché Might Actually Be Good For Business How To Slack Off Like A Pro Why Your Business Is Like A Banana Life coaches – Don’t Quit Your Day Job. What They Don’t Tell You About Starting a Coaching Business What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up 36 Truths About Business I’m in Belize and thought I should brag (Photos included) What To Do When Your Friends And Family Don’t “Get It” Why Business Is Like An Arranged Marriage How To Get Anything You Want Not Everything Is Precious The Ups and Downs Of Solopreneurship How To Overcome Overwhelm (Without Surrendering to Daily Bouts of Ugly Crying) Figure It Out Friday: I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life Figure It Out Friday: Should I Start A Placeholder Biz While I Explore My REAL Biz On The Side? Figure It Out Friday: I Don’t Even Know What My Ideal Life Looks Like. Help! Figure It Out Friday: I’m Terrified Of Success – Help! Figure It Out Friday: How Do I Take The Leap With No BackUp Plan? Figure It Out Fridays: I Don’t Have Any Money To Start My Business Figure It Out Fridays: Free-Spirit Or Power-Suit? The TWO Things You Need To Make Your Dreams Come True It’s My Birthday Yo! Here’s What I Want From You. Want Something Really Bad? Don’t Make The Same Mistake I Did! How to Start When You Don’t Know Where To Start The ONE Simple Step You Can Take To Get Started With Your Dream Life NOW How To Turn Crap Into Gold The Secret To “Finding Your Passion” The Difference Between Those Who Succeed And Those Who Don’t Why It’s Good To Have Bad Things Happen To You Would You Live Differently If You Knew Your Fate? The Key To Success (However You Choose To Define It) Is Your Income An Indicator of How Good You Are As A Person? What I Learned From Living In A Van The Reverse Bucket List 08/08/08 I pee standing up. Yup. What The Fuck Should I Do With My LIfe. Part 3. What The Fuck Should I Do With My Life. Part 2. What The Fuck Should I Do With My Life? Part 1. Why Kale + Quinoa Won’t Save The World Permission, Granted. (You Know You’ve Secretly Been Waiting For It). The 8 Sweetest Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of Why Balance Is BS And Will Get You Nowhere

Marketing

Are you ready to run retreats? How to use retreats to build your Uncaged business The thing you don’t want to do 3 sneaky (but legit!) ways to make more sales OOPS – WE MESSED UP Why you’re not making any money in your business Why you might be wasting your time with blogging The Best Way To Get More Clients Quickly Why choosing a niche is so hard (and how to make it easier) 3 things you need to succeed in your business How to know what to invest in for your business The Biggest Thing Stopping You From Getting Clients Is Uncage Your Business Right For You? Don’t Make A Website For Your Business Til You Read This 3 ways to sell more What Most Failing Businesses Are Lacking Want to get clients? Stop doing this An Elevator Pitch Case Study 7 things you need if you want to get to 100k The full story behind my website relaunch Is your business coach full of shit? Terrible business advice you’ve been given but shouldn’t listen to (and what to do instead) How To Use Testimonials To Get Clients What NOT investing in your business is actually costing you: A Case Study Interview With Kendrick Shope: Selling What To Do When No One “Likes” Your Facebook Posts The ONE Thing That You Need To Make Your Business Work How I Became Successful In Business How Not To Be A Dick In Facebook Groups Why Being a Cliché Might Actually Be Good For Business Life coaches – Don’t Quit Your Day Job. What They Don’t Tell You About Starting a Coaching Business Why Standing Out Is Actually Bad For Your Business What Do You REALLY Want To Know About B-School – You asked, I answered. How To Know What To Charge (So You Don’t End Up Resenting Your Clients or Hating Yourself) Obsessed With Having A ‘Fun’ Job Title? Don’t Make This Mistake. Copy Me. Go Ahead. Seriously. How To Bring Your Offline Business Online Not Everything Is Precious Marketing – WTF!? Don’t Change Yourself, Change Your Business How To Create An Ethics Driven Brand (ie. Don’t Be A Douche) Figure It Out Friday: Should I Start A Placeholder Biz While I Explore My REAL Biz On The Side? FIgure It Out Friday: I’m Starting From Scratch In My Business. How Long Will It Take To Make Money? Start A Project, Not A Business Figure It Out Friday: I Can’t Choose Which Passion To Build A Business Around Don’t Take Another Business Course Til You Read This Figure it Out Fridays: How To Convince People That You’re Legit Should You Start a Biz Based Around All Your Passions, Or Choose Just One?

Mindset

Why I Think Being Multipassionate Is Bullshit Am I the only one who has no idea what I am doing? Your A-Ha Moment is Not Coming The Real Difference That Will Make You Successful What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up Nothing You Do Really Matters What To Do When Your Friends And Family Don’t “Get It” Why Business Is Like An Arranged Marriage How Uncaged Came To Be (And The Power Of Lowering Your Expectations) How To Get Anything You Want Not Everything Is Precious The Ups and Downs Of Solopreneurship How To Overcome Overwhelm (Without Surrendering to Daily Bouts of Ugly Crying) Don’t Change Yourself, Change Your Business Figure It Out Friday: I Don’t Even Know What My Ideal Life Looks Like. Help! Figure It Out Friday: I’m Terrified Of Success – Help! Why Finishing What You Started Is A Terrible Way To Live Figure It Out Friday: How Do I Take The Leap With No BackUp Plan? Figure it Out Fridays: How To Convince People That You’re Legit Are You Cut Out For Having Your Own Uncaged Career? Figure It Out Fridays: How Do You Stay Motivated? Figure It Out Fridays: Free-Spirit Or Power-Suit? I Moved To The Dominican! Here’s How I Made It Happen. The TWO Things You Need To Make Your Dreams Come True The Price of Regret How to Start When You Don’t Know Where To Start Don’t Quit Your Day Job Til You Read This The ONE Simple Step You Can Take To Get Started With Your Dream Life NOW How To Turn Crap Into Gold The Secret To “Finding Your Passion” What currency do you deal in? The Difference Between Those Who Succeed And Those Who Don’t Why It’s Good To Have Bad Things Happen To You One Simple Q to A To Know If You’re On The Right Track The Key To Success (However You Choose To Define It) In Defense Of Your Choices Permission, Granted. (You Know You’ve Secretly Been Waiting For It). Why Balance Is BS And Will Get You Nowhere

Planning

Are you ready to run retreats? Why you might be wasting your time with blogging How to know what to invest in for your business Beta testing – Why And How You Need To Do It Why I Think Being Multipassionate Is Bullshit Don’t Make A Website For Your Business Til You Read This Want to get clients? Stop doing this First 3 Months – Expert Interview Series Am I the only one who has no idea what I am doing? Interview with Gena about legal stuff The full story behind my website relaunch What NOT investing in your business is actually costing you: A Case Study The 3-Month-Hustle is here! A checklist for starting your business The ONE Thing That You Need To Make Your Business Work Your A-Ha Moment is Not Coming The Real Difference That Will Make You Successful How to Protect Your Business Legally So No One Steals Your Work Why Your New Year’s Business Goals Are Already Doomed To Fail Uncaged Year In Review 2014 How To Plan Your Business, Uncaged Style How To Slack Off Like A Pro What the hell are systems and why you need them How To ACTUALLY Make Changes in 2014 (hint: it’s not by making goals or resolutions or intentions) End Of Year Review. Yes, I Went There. (+free worksheet for you!) How To Be Successful Without Any Planning Figure It Out Friday: Should I Start A Placeholder Biz While I Explore My REAL Biz On The Side? FIgure It Out Friday: I’m Starting From Scratch In My Business. How Long Will It Take To Make Money? Start A Project, Not A Business Why Finishing What You Started Is A Terrible Way To Live Figure It Out Friday: I Can’t Choose Which Passion To Build A Business Around Figure It Out Friday: How Do I Take The Leap With No BackUp Plan? Figure It Out Fridays: I Don’t Have Any Money To Start My Business Figure It Out Fridays: Free-Spirit Or Power-Suit? I Moved To The Dominican! Here’s How I Made It Happen. How to Start When You Don’t Know Where To Start Don’t Quit Your Day Job Til You Read This The ONE Simple Step You Can Take To Get Started With Your Dream Life NOW The Secret To “Finding Your Passion” One Simple Q to A To Know If You’re On The Right Track Should You Start a Biz Based Around All Your Passions, Or Choose Just One? What The Fuck Should I Do With My Life. Part 2. What The Fuck Should I Do With My Life? Part 1. Why Balance Is BS And Will Get You Nowhere