Planning

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!

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!

 

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

I get questions all the time about how to feel more confident in your business, and how to actually make yourself believe that your services are worth it (because right now the thought of someone paying actually kind of scares you!) If this is you, or if you’re new to business and have no idea how to get started, don’t skip this post!

 

The best way to feel confident and feel good about charging great money for your services is to actually get out there and DO your services, with real people, and get better and better at it as you go.

 

But how do you start? How do you charge people for something you have never done and aren’t confident about yet?

You beta test, baby.

Usually, that term usually refers to testing new software or products, but since it sounds fancy and makes you feel like a cool business owner, let’s just call it that anyway. We make the rules, remember?

Beta testing your service involves actually trying it out for the first time with real people (instead of just the make-believe clients that you’ve run it though with in your head).

I’d recommend testing a service with at least 10 people before you slap your higher prices on it and make it a set service.

 

There are a few reasons I absolutely insist that you MUST test your services before you start:

1. You’ll be able to get feedback to make tweaks on what works and what needs improvement. This is crucial, you guys! Just because it sounded like a good idea to you doesn’t mean it works in real time. Constantly tweaking your services is something you need to get used to now, because you will be doing it forever as you grow and evolve as a business and as a person. What’s that saying about sharks? If they stop swimming they die? Yeah, don’t stop tweaking or your services will die.

2. You’ll be able to get testimonials from people to show that your service works. Testis are KEY in helping you sell things. People want to know that what you have created WORKS, and the best way to show them that is to have other people tell them what great results they got in working with you.

3. You’ll become more confident in your process, which means it will be easier to sell at a higher price when the time comes. If you’re not confident, it’s hard to sell anything, and the best way to get confident is to do it over and over and over.

4. You’ll have a chance to create content as you go, rather than all ahead of time. You might have an idea of what your program will need content-wise (worksheets, in-between work, additional resources etc), but it’s not always the best idea to go ahead and create it all at once. Not only is it overwhelming, but it’s usually not necessary. You can totally create it as you go, so that if things change along the way you can make sure your content fits with exactly what your client needs, instead of what you assumed they would need.

5. You get to generate some hype around your service. People love hype! You can hire a hype man (or hype woman… hype person?) and everything! Get people excited, start to create a bit of a buzz about
what you’re putting together. Your beta testers will feel extra special that they got first dibs, and other people will be hungry to sign up for the next round.

6. It takes the pressure off if things don’t go well. You don’t have to feel like everything will be perfect because you can explain to your first clients that this is a test run that will help you smooth out the kinks. They won’t expect it to be perfect (and full paying clients will). I know that might sound like a lot, but here are a few really good reasons to test it out a ton before you make it official:

 

HOW TO DO YOUR FIRST BETA TEST

First you need to decide whether your service will be free or paid.

There is no right answer here. I personally started coaching for free. I was terrified and needed to get some experience under my belt when I started. I then moved on to ‘pay what you want’ after a few months, and then eventually transitioned into full prices. Now that my business is more established (and I feel confident in what I am doing as a whole), I generally charge for first runs of a program, but I make it a no-brainer price.

 

The goal is to get people to sign up easily so I can test and tweak, NOT to make a boatload of money on the first run (that can come later!).

 

I charge enough that my clients still see the value, but not so much that it’s a HUGE investment for people that will make them hand over their first born.

The exact number of first born babies you want them to have to hand over will depend on who your clients are. If you’re just starting your business, I’d recommend working through your particular program for free to start, to learn the ropes and acquire the big C (ew, not chlamydia, gross! I mean confidence!). If you’re more established, charging 50% or less of what you’d normally charge is a great starting point.

Then you need to find people.

Start with the low hanging fruit – your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and possibly family (careful with this one though – you may feel really awkward working with someone who you already know so well). Tell them what you’re up to and what kind of person you are looking for. Then ASK THEM FOR REFERRALS. See if they know anyone who might be a fit.

You can also start by reaching out in any groups you’re a part of either locally or online. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know anyone who would be a good client for you.

Also, make sure to let them know what the offer is. Don’t just come at them with “Hey wanna work with me, it’s free! Dear god, please say yes I’m desperate! I’ll take anyone at this point.” Not surprisingly, this makes you sound desperate (since you used that word and all,) and doesn’t make your clients feel very special. Instead, explain to them what you’re creating and who it’s for to make sure they are a real fit (taking on non-ideal clients won’t be doing you any favors here).

Then tell them WHY you’re doing it for free or at a discount. You want to make sure that people actually value what you’re offering, so instead of just slapping a giant tacky FREE sign all over things, explain why you’re doing it this way. Then, let them know that in exchange for your work, you’ll be asking them to complete a feedback form within a week of finishing your work or whatever your feedback parameter are), to help you get an idea of how things went and what might need changing. Be clear that this is a requirement! That way they can’t skip it if they don’t feel like doing it (those slackers!). Then get to work, kids! Work with them, rock your shit, and use every ounce of feedback to improve and do better next time around. 

You can do all of this in a simple email or Facebook post. You don’t have to have a proper sales page on your website for it (though you could if you wanted to). This is all about getting people in so you can START, so don’t procrastinate thinking it all has to be perfect.

Once you’ve run through your service several times and you’re feeling confident in what you’re offering and have the testis to prove it (am I the only one who shortens testimonials down to testis? Because I’m pretty sure everyone should do it), move on to picking a price for your service and get it out there.

 

MORE ON GETTING FEEDBACK

No matter what you are selling or giving away for free, you want social proof that it’s actually good, from real people other than yourself. Yes – that means even your freebie (the free thing you give away when people opt-in to your site) should have testimonials. You want to be collecting testis from day one, for everything you do, ever. One of the main ways you’ll sell your services is by having proof that they’re awesome. The proof is in the pudding (and now I’m hungry.)

So here’s what you need to do: Send your clients a feedback form when you finish your work with them. Create it in Google forms and disguise it as a feedback form. Just kidding – it’s not a disguise. It actually IS a feedback form, just with very carefully worded questions so that you can also use it for testimonials (two birds with one stone and all that jazz.) I give you 100% permission to blatantly copy my feedback form. Click here to see it. Just be sure to tweak the questions to make sense for your business.

One thing to be absolutely sure to ask your clients is if it’s ok if you share their feedback in the form of a testimonial on your website. Let them know you will be including a photo, and their website (if applicable). But you MUST get permission first, so the easiest way is just to ask right on your form. If the work you do is SUPER sensitive, you can tell people that you’d love to share their words anonymously, and you can explain on your testimonial section that because your work is personal/sensitive, people prefer to remain anonymous. Abracadabra – you’ve just earned more trust!

This whole process might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be! You can get your first test clients TODAY if you wanted to. In fact – I dare  you to get started now if you have been putting this off. If you’re like me, you can’t turn down a dare.

 

xo becca

PS. You might be asking “But Becca, what if I have no idea what my program even is yet? How can I test something that’s still so unclear?” If you need help actually figuring out what to sell in the first place, you might want to check this out.

The whole “multipassionate” thing? I’m over it.

Yeah, I said it.

Saying you have so many interests that you couldn’t possibly choose just ONE to start a business about? I’m done with that nonsense.

I should clarify — It’s not being multipassionate that I am over. It’s using it as an excuse to not move forward with your business that I am just SO sick of hearing. It is so shitty to see so many people holding themselves back because of this excuse.

This post is a battle cry. To everyone out there in Online Business Land who is shouting from the rooftops that you absolutely CAN and MUST create a business that is 100% in line with your passions and interests and strengths and hobbies and loves and your life purpose. 

To the coaches touting that you absolutely MUST NOT SETTLE for a business that you don’t LOVE and telling you that you shouldn’t have to choose just one thing to focus on – that you can have it all!

And to anyone calling themselves multipotential, multipassionate, or a scanner, and believing that you shouldn’t have to choose something – because ugh – how could you possibly settle on one thing? You love so many things and your life and business should represent that! You are special and the good ol’ regular advice on choosing a business idea and a niche simply doesn’t apply to you.

 

Can we please stop these insane bullshit excuses right now? Please? It makes me SO sad to hear talented, smart people who have BIG dreams, procrastinating SO hard because they are waiting to find the PERFECT business idea.

 

If you’re a human, there is a 99.9% chance that you are interested in MORE than just one thing. We ALL are. No one is single-minded enough that they have ZERO interests or hobbies or causes they care about.

Having so many passions that you couldn’t possibly choose one to start a business about is an excuse (likely being created out of fear). And it’s holding you back. BIG TIME.

And if you ever want to grow your business, you are going to have to suck it up buttercup, and choose ONE thing to focus on in your business, and get a move on. In fact, Focus is my new favorite F-word.

Because here’s the thing – it’s a fucking business. It’s work. It’s a career. It’s not all puppy dogs and ice cream and rainbows. It’s not going to feel warm and fuzzy all the time. And honestly, I get SO disheartened seeing SO many crazy amazing ambitious people going in circles for months because they refuse to focus in. Waiting to find something that will fulfill every single need they have ever had. Waiting for an idea that they won’t get bored of in a month, only to have to scrap everything and start again (again). 

Your business is DEFINITELY not going to go anywhere if you keep waiting to find the perfect blend of EVERYTHING you love and  try to smoosh everything into one, because 1) that’s likely not possible, and 2) if it is, you will confuse the crap out of everyone when you try to market it. And, if I may add #3 – your interests and passions will change as your grow, so what are you doing to do – keep trying for the rest of your life to integrate them into your business? And remove the old ones? Constantly changing your services and your tagline and your niche because your interests are changing. Smells like flake to me. And not the best business move.

It’s time we stop being so precious about our businesses, and time we start focusing in on finding something we do well, that we like to do, that people will pay us for, and let that be enough for now.

DISCLAIMER: I should take a minute here to note that I absolutely believe in creating a business that is close to home for you – something you give a shit about. A BIG shit. With a core message that you can stand by, even when things feel hard.

I strive for that in my own business and I advocate for that with my clients. It’s why I put such a big emphasis on Messaging. There’s no sense in creating something that will just be another job that you hate. What’s the point?

But does it have to be perfect, and will you love it every minute of everyday, and it will never feel like work and will only feel like warm and fuzzy feelings all the time? HAHAHAHAHA. No. Whoever told you that wants your money and wants to try to sell you the impossible dream. Because the truth is that your business will ebb and flow, and sometimes you will love it and sometimes you will hate it.

And no matter what you choose to focus on, there are no guarantees that you won’t get bored of it a few months down the line. It’s a risk you take. Actually, scratch that – it’s a DECISION you make –  to stick with it, through the ups and downs. To not just quit when you start to feel drawn to something else. To keep your ADD in check and FOCUS so you can build the life you want for yourself through your business.

It doesn’t have to be a be-all-end-all business idea when you first start out. You’ll drive yourself mad trying to create that right off the bat.

It just has to be something you don’t want to kill yourself doing everyday, with a solid enough foundation that as you change and grow as a person, there is some wiggle room for your business to expand and grow with you (while still staying true to  your core message), AND, most importantly, that affords you the Uncaged lifestyle that you are craving.

The endless search for the PERFECT business idea that will incorporate all your values and passions and strengths and quirks and that will line up with the moon and the planets and be in perfect alignment with your numerology charts  – it’s wasting time.

And business is all about making decisions. Quick decisions. Decisions will move you forward. Indecision will keep you going in circles and never get you anywhere.

So this post? It’s about calling you out if you’ve been hiding under the veil of being multi-passionate and not actually making concrete decisions about your business and what it is (and isn’t).

I am taking a stand for STARTING. Before it’s perfect. Before it feels in line with the moon and the stars and your tarot. Before you feel like it’s THE idea.

I am taking a stand for separating business from hobbies. For taking the preciousness out of business. For letting yourself have interests OUTSIDE of your business, and not trying to smash them altogether like a potpourri of shit that just shouldn’t go together.

And I am taking a stand for creating a business that affords you the time to enjoy all those other hobbies and passions, outside of business hours – that’s what this is all about, right?

Because trust me – it’s WAY more fun when you don’t mix business and pleasure all the time.

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 8.24.14 AM

 

 

PS. I have opened up a few spots for my Foundations sessions over the next few weeks. Want to finally be able to have a message that people understand (and that you can articulate clearly) and get rid of any niggling uncertainty about your niche, what makes you different, or how to put all of this together into something cohesive? This is for you. I don’t offer these sessions all the time, and once these remaining spots are gone, they are gone. Click here for more.

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.

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 8.24.14 AM

 

 

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!

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.

When you’re starting a business, there is SO much to do, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do and when and how and why. And it’s awesome that there are so many free resources out there now for you to help give you advice and lead you in the right direction. But therein lies the problem – there is SO much stuff out there, that it often ends up leaving you feeling just as lost as when you started.

I saw such a need for offering new business some kind of direction in all this, so I created a simple but comprehensive 3 Month Hustle business checklist into the world (Click here to grab it for free) to help all the struggling business owners who have HEART and HUSTLE, but who just have NO damn idea what to focus on and when in business.

And I thought it might be helpful to have you hear from successful business owners who have built amazing businesses. Not sharing tips and tricks on how to make 6 figures, but sharing stories from the baby-stages of their business, and what they would do differently if they were just getting started. Stories about their beginnings. Stories about what they did right and wrong and stories that will help  YOU find more focus in your beginnings.

The Interviews

Carrie Green from Female Entrepreneur Association – Learn how Carrie’s passion project accidentally turned into a business

Kate Courageous of Your Courageous Life – Learn how Kate made her life coaching business work

Andrea Owen of Your Kickass Life – Andrea started her business while she was having a baby! Learn how she managed it all

Tiffany Han of 100 Rejection Letters – Tiffany shares the first 3 things she spent money on in her life coaching business

Nikki Groom, copywriter at NikkiGroom.com – Nikki tells us how she built her business to a full time gig while still working a 9-5 job

Hope you learn from them, get inspired, and most importantly see that EVERYONE starts in the same place.

xx becca

PS. If you’re struggling with knowing what to do first, download my free 3 Month Hustle checklist, a step by step plan for starting your business. Enter your email here to get it free.






Am I the only one who has no idea what the fuck I am doing??

^ I bet you’ve asked yourself that at least once in the past month. Ok, maybe the past day.

One minute you feel crystal clear about what direction you’re headed, and the next you have NO clue what you’re doing with your business. It’s an emotional roller coaster that has one too many loops and is making you nauseous. But everyone else seems to be having so much fun! So you start to question whether you are even normal.

You are.

Let me tell you this – NO ONE knows what the fuck they are doing. Not the seasoned coach who touts that she’s making 6 figures a day, and not the overly optimistic newbie who posts inspirational quotes on her Instagram feed and shares how amazing it is working for herself. And not anyone in between.

Sure – there are coaches and strategists and consultants and experts that probably know more than you do about how to do certain things so that you see certain results (marketing, or Facebook ads, or copywriting). There are people who have been in your industry for years who may have a slightly better idea than you on how to do certain things so that you sell more things.

But there is NO ONE who has it all figured out.

 

Business is complex. We’re not just talking about or marketing, or copywriting, or creating, or selling, or social-media-ing. There are SO many intricacies and nuances that make up the whole of your business.

 

Your business is more than just one moving part. It’s a complex system of decision-making, in which each decision impacts the next. And they don’t always have to do with strategy. There is SO much more to know how the fuck to do:

There’s marketing, branding, and strategy. There is customer service, and refund policies, and contracts. There’s bookeeping, and taxes, and expenses. And there’s lifestyle decisions, decisions about the fuzzy line between work and home, and seemingly impossible decisions about how to do it all at once while making both yourself and everyone else happy.

And because of that, there is no one expert who can tell you exactly “how to do business”.

Here at Uncaged, a few situations have arisen this year that I had no idea how to deal with (thank GOD for my business friends and colleagues who let me rant to them all the time over Voxer when shit aries that I have no idea how to handle).

Things like:

What to do when a client wants a refund for something that is non-refundable (womp womp).

How to handle a client who stopped her payment plan and refuses to pay, despite what her contract says, and I need to send her account to collections but feel a bit like a douche doing it (but I do it anyway).

What direction I should go regarding some big choices in the programs I offer and my overall business model (things that would majorly change everything about how I work,  how much money I make, how my time is structured etc – scary, big stuff!).

How should I explain to someone that they aren’t a great fit to work together simply because of my personal preference (ie. I don’t like their niche, their personality isn’t a fit, and the vibe just wasn’t there), even though they technically meet all the requirements on the sales page?

 

And for my (successful, business-be-rockin’ colleagues) – they face the same damn issues!! We talk about them ALL the time in several mastermind groups I’m a part of.

My program isn’t selling and I’ve done everything right – what could be happening?

My client is expecting too much and I’m having trouble defining to her what that even means – how do I say it to her without hurting her feelings?

My VA is sucking serious ass, but we have a contract and I can’t get rid of her – what do I do?

 

There is the big stuff, and the small stuff. The major business decisions, and the small, day-to-day challenges we face. And there is no right answer to any of it.

 

We are all just making this shit up as we go.

 

Which is good news, and bad news. It’s good because there are no rules – no boss is hovering over your shoulder, making sure you are following SOPs. No one is going to fire you if you make a less-than-stellar choice in how you handle something (like telling that naysayer on your Facebook page that they can suck a dick). But at the same time – no one is telling you what to do. It’s up to you to ultimately make every single decision in your business – and that can be extremely overwhelming.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an old pro, it’s always hard. The decisions never go away. Questions and uncertainty about the things that feel hard when you are just starting out, like your niche, and your message (is it right? does it even make sense?) morph into what I like to call “successful business problems” (how do I fire this client? I have too many clients and need to let something go – but what? Is it ok to totally change directions even though I have built a thriving audience?)

If you screw up, or make a bad decision that’s on you. If someone else doesn’t like your decision, that’s on you. And worse – if YOU don’t like your decision, that’s on you.

 

But one thing is for sure – you DO need to be making decisions. Everyday. Forever in your business.

 

The businesses that actually make it somewhere are the ones who are able to make decisions quickly, whether they make the right ones or not. The “best” decision is the one you make.

You know how they say “the best exercise is the one you will actually do?” It’s like that.

Because what most new business owners do is waffle (and not the yummy, delicious kind of waffle). They hum and haw and think it over and turn every small decision the MOST important decision of their life. And they do this to the extent that it absolutely paralyzes them – sometimes to the point of actually quitting before they even start. Other times, they waste weeks or months doing nothing while they weigh the options of whether their homepage button should be yellow or red? And whether they should call themselves a Life Coach, or a Happiness Cultivator, or something else? And you know what their competition is going while they are wasting SO much time on these decisions? They are getting ahead. Getting clients. Making money.

If I know one thing for sure, it’s that decision making is at the crux of every business’s success or failure. And you have all the power in the world to choose whether to be a decision-maker or a waffle-iron. Even if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. Even if you go back and forth between rocking it and terrified. Even if you’re certain that you are the only one who could possibly be this screwed  up on the inside when it comes to all the feelings about business. None of that takes away the power you have to take the next step. And the next. And to keep taking tiny steps, tiny decisions, that will ultimately get you to wherever you want to go.

This works even (and especially) if you have no idea what that end point even is.

Here’s to making more decisions in 2016,

xx becca

PS. I have just a few spots open for consulting + strategy sessions before March 2016. There is room for 2  Foundations Sessions and 2 Meet Marketing Sessions on the calendar. Hop on in if you want to start 2016 with a serious dose of decision making, action, and forward momentum based in sound strategy (not just nice ideas that are floating around in your head). 

 

Yes, you heard me – “legal stuff”. The legit term for all the legal crap that scares you and feels overwhelming and that you kind of just push to the back of your to-do list for the first 3 years of your business until in comes back to bit you in the ass (which it WILL).

Gena is launching an incredible legal course for entrepreneurs to help get your legal stuff in order so you can feel safe and confident knowing you are protected. And I can tell you from first hand experience that the cost of the course is nothing compared to hiring a lawyer to help you one-on-one, and it’s peanuts compared to having to the regret you will have and the money you will lose should shit ever hit the fan and you don’t have your “legal stuff” in place.

Gena was kind enough to hop on and answer some questions from the Uncaged  Life crew last year, to help you get started with figuring out all the things you have no idea about like:

  • What you absolutely need to have in place when you’re first getting started (and what can wait)
  • The difference between a sole proprietor and LLC, and how to know which you should be
  • How does the “legal stuff” work if you live in once country and coach in another (ie. online clients)
  • What can I trademark and how do I do it? And what if someone is already using the name I want?
  • What do I if someone copies my content?
  • What do I have to have in my client agreements to protect myself?
  • Do people need to check a box saying that they agree to my terms before they buy something?

 

And SO MUCH MORE. Watch the interview below. Get some of the basic answers you need, And then click here to get into her course and get her personal help in putting together the legal stuff you need for YOUR specific business (because not all are created equal). You will save thousands of dollars by doing this right, right from the start.

With love and legal-ease (as Gena says!)

xo becca

PS. Notice our faces? This is how most people feel about the legal stuff in business, right?

 

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

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.20.16 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 4.36.09 PM

 

 

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:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.01.28 PM

AFTER:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.02.31 PM

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.

 

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.)

Last week I wrote a post about how Facebook likes are a crap way to gauge whether you’re making progress in your business, and I promised you a checklist of stuff that you should actually be focusing on instead.

So here it is – The 3-Month Hustle.

This is going to be developed out much more robustly in a series of courses coming later this year, with details on each step, but I wanted to help get you started now with at least an outline of where you should be going, what you should be doing, and how you can strategize so that you’re not wasting time focusing on the stuff that doesn’t matter and you ARE putting your energy into a plan that will actually get you somewhere.

If I was starting my business again this is exactly what I would do, in this particular order. I’ll repeat – IN THIS ORDER. I’ve taken the guesswork out of where your focus should be, so you have no excuse to procrastinate… no reason to flounder wondering what to do…. basically no more excuses. You’re welcome.

CLICK HERE to download the checklist.

I’d love to hear what other questions or struggles you’re having with starting your business. Tell me in the comments so I can help and include them in the upcoming courses!

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!)

I wrote a post a while back about how not everything is precious – how you can’t take your work SO seriously that it has to be perfect. It might never be perfect. It might only ever be a few steps better than a job working for someone else. But if it gives you the lifestyle you want, that might be ok.

 

And I have some kind of disheartening news: For most people, there will never be a big a-ha moment when you finally realize what your life purpose is all about.

 

There won’t be unicorns and rainbows and shooting stars. And there definitely won’t be any opening up of the heavens, white light, or fall-to-your knees kinds of feelings.

More likely, you’ll start with an idea that doesn’t feel  totally perfect. You’ll tweak it as you go. And at some point, it will start feeling pretty good.

It’s kind of like aging. You’re always getting older, but you don’t really notice it. It’s not like one day you’re 20, and the next day, you’re grey and wrinkled. It happens slowly over time, and one day you look in the mirror and you’re like “Huh… I got old”

It’s kind of like that.

 

You keep working towards what feels like the best fit, and one day, you’ll look at where you are compared to where you started, and you’ll be like “Huh… I’m doing something pretty cool”.

 

I’m sure some people have those holy grail, ah-ha moments, but for the most part what I see in my business is some excited-yet-hesitant feelings of about an idea or a business concept. Paired with a desire to make things happen, this is all you need to get started.

Stop waiting for the moment when all of a sudden, you’ll know exactly what you’re meant to be doing in the world. It’s an illusion. And actually, it kind of pisses me off that we’ve been made to feel that we MUST find the ONE thing that is our life’s purpose/passion. It’s been detrimental to me in my own life, and I’m sure you can relate. You’re searching for the ONE thing, and you’ll just KNOW when you find it.

Right. Good luck with that.

Start where you are. Do what feels right, for now. Don’t get caught up in thinking there has to be ONE thing that you will do for the rest of your life, and that you can’t do anything til you’ve found it.

Stop waiting for your a-ha moment. It’s not coming. And start doing the thing that actually WILL get you closer to where you wan to be – taking charge and taking action. Your business is waiting.

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PS. Uncage Your Business is the opposite of waiting for an a-ha moment – it’s about intentionally CREATING that a-ha for yourself, and then using to actually grow your damn business. Finally. Click here for more.

Frustrated <– what you’ll be with yourself when you see all the other people killing it, while you sit quietly in the corner.

Annoyed <–  how you will feel when you realize you’re way smarter/more talented/cooler than that person out there killing it.

Jealous <– when you realize they are doing exactly what you want to be doing.

Seething <– what you will be doing when you realize how much time you’re wasting NOT doing anything.

Let’s face it – it’s happened to all of us. You download someone else’s ebook or buy their service or read their book, and realize “I could have fucking created this! And I could have done it better!”

Their work feels average to you. Nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe it’s exactly what you learned in school (ho-hum), or it’s so simple that it’s almost laughable.

So why are they wildly successful, raking in the money and the fame (and oh, the freedom), while you’re busy ogling their business, wishing it was yours. KNOWING it could be yours, if you just got your act together, and, well… acted.

Why are they getting book deals and interviews and quickly becoming the go-to  person in their industry, while you watch from the sidelines with your popcorn, wondering when it will be your turn?

The difference? They did it, and you didn’t.

 

Because the hard part about running a business isn’t getting ideas. The hard part is getting off your ass and DOING IT.

 

Those “other guys”? They didn’t get there by watching from the sidelines. They got there by starting. Before they felt ready. Before they were even totally clear. Before they wasted months (years?) watching everyone else.

Less than two years ago, I was talking with a coach and she said “Becca, you need to be taking people on adventures”. And I brushed it off, like, “Yeah ok, sounds great, but that feels really big and scary and how would I do it and who would come with me and I’ll just sit here and eat my popcorn and watch other people create amazing retreats and secretly hate them because they are doing what I want to be doing but I’m not willing to do it, so pass the Sprite, please.”

And maybe it wasn’t possible for me then, but what was possible was building all the foundations that would lead me to the point where it would be possible (which is now – I’ve successfully hosted 3 amazing retreats and have more in the works for next year).

It happens way faster than you think, but you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, putting pedal to the metal – or rather, putting one blog post in front of the other, putting the fingers to the keyboard… you get the point.

 

Planning is easy. Execution is the real kicker.

 

The only thing that separates the unsuccessful you from the successful* you, is action. (*and please, no comments about how “success” isn’t important blah blah blah. If you have a business, you need to be making money or else you don’t actually have a business).

Make execution your bitch, and you’ll be the envy of everyone else’s eye sooner than you even think is possible.

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What makes you seethe with envy when you see someone else doing it? What part of your business have you been watching other people do from the sidelines, wishing it was you? Tell us in the comments!

PS. Uncage Your Business opens its doors again for registration on March  16. Spend April with us, and never go back to being the chimp that watches from the sidelines.

 

As you may know, there was a recent incident where someone copied my programs and sold them as her own.

There has since been a LOT of discussion in the community about what we can do as small business owners to protect ourselves in these circumstances.

And I certainly can NOT answer those questions for you, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging (leaving your own business vulnerable) so I hopped on Skype with a lawyer (and an entrepreneur!) to answer all your most burning questions.

Meet Kyle Durand of OurDeal.com. In this interview we go through copyright law (he’ll tell about some surprising things you probably didn’t know!), trademarking (and why it’s not as important as you might think), and contracts (why you need them and how you can easily implement them), as well as some other tips and tricks to protect your business as you grow.

As long as you’re in business, you need to understand the laws. It doesn’t have to be scary and stressful though and Kyle makes it super easy to understand.

So without further ado – here is everything you need to know to get started with even starting to understand the legal stuff. Be sure to check out OurDeal for contracts and templates that make this shit EASY to implement.

What scares you MOST about being in business? Tell us in the comments!

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WOOO! It’s that time of year that all we business minded folks set our goals and intentions for 2015. You probably have lists in your notebook, and vision boards on your wall, and mantras in your head, and benchmarks in your calendar. You have committed to FINALLY making this the year that you get your shit together, stay off Facebook, stop fucking around, and start to hustle hard and make things happen.

And as I sit here on January 1, nursing my (yoga) hangover, I can’t help but remember back to when I was starting  my business and I made goals like those too. And I can’t NOT chime in on your New Year’s day and help make sure that you’re actually planning the RIGHT things for 2015.

You intentions are all the best. They always are. But aren’t these same things you committed to last year? Didn’t you promise yourself all  of these things would happen in 2014? And did they? Mmmhmmmm.

This is so so so so SO common (did I mention it’s common?) We get all psyched up about all the things we’re going to do and then they don’t happen. And I’m not going to get into goal setting strategies and those kinds of things here. That’s not really my jam on this blog.

But I do want to talk about why some of the goals you may have set for 2015 might be doomed to fail.

Don’t take this personally – it’s nothing against you or your business. But after working with hundreds of newish business owners in Uncage Your Business, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when you set large and plentiful business goals.

So why don’t these inspired goals succeed?

 

Because most people are setting the wrong damn goals. Or they set goals that would be GREAT, but only after they have done certain other things in their business to set them up for success with those goals.

 

This happens alllll the time. It’s one of the main reasons why people sign up for my month long coaching program Uncage Your Business. They take course after course, listen to webinars, read all the blogs – but still can’t seem to get shit to work for THEIR business.

Here is a PRIME example of a misaligned goal, and one that many people fall into the trap of:

You decide you want to build your list to 10k. Everything will be so great when you can just get to 10k. Woo! But that requires creating a lot of content and guest posting and holding free calls and really putting your message out there in front of new audiences. And you freeze. Why? Because you have no idea what your message even IS. Or where to find these people. Or who the people even are. You have no idea what your business even is, for that matter.

And if you’re confused – your (potential) clients will be too.

Another example that I see all the time in Uncage Your Business are folks who want to create their new membership site, or launch high end programs – all during the course of our month together.

And I LOVE seeing people aim high – because all of that stuff is possible. But the reason they haven’t been able to accomplish it yet – the main reason they are working with me in the first place – is that there is no focus. Their businesses are vague, generic iterations of every other business out there, and they aren’t even clear yet on who their clients are, or exactly how they can best help them, or exactly what they want to be focusing on in their business.

 

It’s not that the goal of growing your email list, or creating VIP-style programs is a bad one. Those are GREAT goals.

It’s just that there are OTHER goals you need to focus on first, in order to get to the higher-level stuff in your business.

 

The equivalent would be like deciding to build a house. And spending all your time focusing on buying furniture, what color curtains you want to have, and obsessing over fancy rugs and vintage coffee tables.

But if you don’t build the foundation of the actual HOUSE first, from the ground up, all your expensive new furnishings will just be sitting in an empty lot. And it will get rained on. And you will be sad because you spent so much money and time planning it all out and getting excited about it and now it’s just a soggy piled up yesterday’s dreams.

This is the exact same thing that happens in your business.

 

It’s REALLY hard to do the more nitty gritty, how-to stuff if you haven’t taken the time to get clear on your foundations.

And that is why all the fancy, big goals you are setting for 2015 might not actually happen.

 

But there is hope! What can you do about this? Should you abandon those goals altogether?

Nope. Not at all.

Just shelf them – for now. And focus on making sure you have a really clear base.

Can you clearly and concisely answer these questions?

What is your business message?

Why do you give a shit about it?

Why should other people give a shit about it?

What is your unique approach or perspective in your business that makes you different from everyone else out there?

Who are your clients? What exact problems does your business solve?

How do you help people – tangibly? Not in terms of your packages and programs, but what do you DO for them? What are the results people get when working with you?

What is the scope of your business? How do you know when a client is done working with you? And where should they go next?

 

All of that? Those are your foundations. And until you know them CLEAR as day and inside and out, business building is going to be DAMN hard work.

It’s amazing to see people come into Uncage Your Business with all these goals that aren’t quiiiite right, and end the month without having accomplished any of them, BUT feeling SO much more clear, confident, and sure of where they are headed that their original goals now actually feel super easy to accomplish. They leave ACTUALLY in a position to now grow their list, or create those next level programs.

So if you’re one of those people who keeps aiming high in your business but you never seem to be able to get there, things never quite feel like they’re working – it’s time to switch up your goals. Get back to basics. Create a solid foundation that you can build on.

Trust me – your business will thank you for it for the entire rest of your year – and for the rest of your career, for that matter.

Happy 2015!

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Set a lofty goal that you need to lay some foundations for first? Hop into the comments and commit publicly taking the slow and steady route to grow your foundations first!

 

Ok, I know – just a few weeks ago I posted about how I don’t believe in planning. But I wasn’t totally honest. I do actually do a little planning each year, and there is a way that I like to plan that lets me set out my intentions, without having to stick hard and fast to any kind of schedule.

In my Yearly Review post at the end of 2013, I laid out everything that happened in 2013, and what I wanted for myself in 2014, because I always think it’s interesting to get an inside look at someone’s business, and had clients say that they’d love to get a look inside Uncaged.

Now, I’m going back to that post, and giving you the real scoop about whether I achieved everything I had set out to do (and where I failed miserably).

And of course, you can grab your own end of year review sheet at the end of this post.

Here are the tangible parts of the review:

Income goal for 2014: $100k

Actual income for 2014: I’ve decided not to divulge this information, but I will  tell you that I reached my goal. It’s not the money that makes me proud of this. It’s the fact that creating a business that can bring in sustainable, consistent income means that I must be helping a lot of people, and THAT is what makes me happy. If you set an income goal, whether you reach it or not, always remember that even ONE person paying you for your services means that someone loves what you do, and that you get to help one person. Staying humble and grateful will help you get there faster.

List size end of 2013: 2180

List size goal for 2014: Don’t have one/don’t really care

Actual list size at end of 2014: 3250

So it looks like I grew a little in 2014, but not a ton. I am totally ok with this, since I wasn’t really focusing my efforts on marketing. And, it goes to show that you don’t need a list of 10k to sell our your programs. It is possible to do a lot with a small group of people. Whether your list is 1000 or 100, start with those people and make sure you are creating exactly what they need, and the whole list size obsession won’t be nearly as important.

Total pageviews in 2013: 163,834

Pageviews goal for 2014: Don’t care, as long as it doesn’t drop significantly!

Pageviews in 2014: About the same as 2013

Once again, I wasn’t making a focused effort to put my website out into different communities, or get more traffic to my site. But it didn’t affect my sales in a negative way, which means I must have done a good job engaging the people in my current community. Goes to show that a smaller number of raving fans is always better than a larger number of people who don’t really give a shit. Nurture the people who love you NOW for best results.

Weekly hours goal for 2014: 20

Weekly hours for 2014: Probably about that (and much, much less some weeks!). Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t track this stuff. But after Hey, Nice Package! was released in the spring, I took a significant amount of time off and reduced my hours by a LOT, so I’d say I was right on par with my goal. If you’re struggling to work LESS, systems definitely help, and the sooner you can implement them, the easier

Ok, so that was the tangible stuff. Now for the rest. Here is what I set as my intentions last year for 2014. Once again, you can read the full post here. Did I accomplish all my goals? Read on!

My theme word for 2014 is: LIFE

I definitely stayed true to this in 2014! I spent more time rock climbing near home than ever before, enjoyed some time away with friends, and really let myself step away from my work a LOT to get back to LIVING. Ahhh.

This year I will commit to doing more of: Creating courses that are online and require less of my attention on an ongoing basis. Right now I have Biz Shiz and Coaching Business Jumpstart, and I know that a lot of what I do has great potential to be turned into online material, so I can get out and enjoy my Uncaged Life more, instead of working like a 9-5er (ironic, right!?)

I reached this goal! In the spring, I hustled my butt off and created Hey, Nice Package!, and I am SO proud of it. It is a great stream of income, and more importantly, it is SUPER in depth and has helped hundreds of coaches and service providers take the confusion out of how to create packages. So proud of myself for this one! If you have been thinking of creating online courses – it’s a great addition to business IF you have already done the legwork to work with enough one on one clients that you KNOW what to put in your course. My courses are typically 1-2 years in the making, so be sure to pay your dues first before you invest the time and money is takes to create a killer online program,

I would be most proud of myself if: I could get to the point where my biz runs smoooooth like butta’ and I can stick to 15-hour workweeks. Right now I’m at about 50+, so wish me luck!

I did it! I did it! After HNP rolled out, I significantly reduced how much I was working… and kind of got used to it. It’s been hard getting back into hustle mode now that summer and rock climbing season have ended! You can absolutely work fewer hours too – just don’t expect your results or your income for that matter, to remain the same.

 

Things ebb and flow in business, and sometimes taking a hit is totally worth it to have a rockin’ summer off.

 

I will commit to accomplishing: Creating a little book that I have just started thinking about thanks to the amazing Illana Burk. Also, the homemade body care products. Keep your eye for Uncaged toothpaste in 2014.

None of these things happened. Oh well. Though I did start making my own face scrub with sugar and coconut oil. Sometimes I eat it as a snack when I am working.

 

Don’t beat yourself up about the things you didn’t do – there’s likely a good reason you didn’t create them. Figure out what that reason is, and then either dump them, or get to work!

 

I will also commit to… Setting a schedule for my marketing so that I have one day a week where I am doing all things marketing related, because marketing is fun and important.

Nope. Definitely did not do this. In fact, I stopped writing guest posts, pitching myself for interviews, and writing blog posts for my own site altogether in the spring. I really took advantage of the theme of LIFE, and spent a lot of my time focusing on things outside my business. Super necessary to avoid burnout! Don’t forget that you can’t hustle all the time, forever, with no breaks!

I will also commit to… ONLY taking client calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and taking Mondays and Fridays off like a bawss.

I did do this, and I will never go back! It is SO nice to have dedicated days off during the week and even though I usually end up working on those days, it gives me a full chunk of time to get shit done, instead of having the flow of my day interrupted with client calls. Love working this way! It’s all about finding out how YOU work best – simply copying someone else’s workflow will never work for you, so don’t bother trying. Experiment and see what feels good for you.

I will STOP doing: Spending so much time on Facebook. I love it, and it serves me well in my business, but I am committing to setting my Self-Control app on the regular and getting the hell off the crack.

Ha! You can probably guess how this one went. Facebook can be a valuable business tool, so don’t cut yourself off totally, but be wary of how much time you spend working versus messing around.

I anticipate my biggest challenge to be: Growing my reach big enough that I can sell out my group program every single time at the price point I’d like. Hence the marketing focus early in the year.

Somehow, even though I reduced my marketing efforts, I still managed to sell out Uncage Your Business every single time it ran. Hoorah! I attribute this to growing an amazing online community who is active and engaged.  And having such amazing clients who get such amazing results that they practically sell the program for me with their referrals. You ladies know who you are – THANK YOU! You can do this too in your business by putting in the time to create packages that you KNOW people want to buy, instead of playing the guessing game, and then feeling bad about yourself when no one buys. Click here to learn exactly how to structure your business so that it sells.

I will make it easier on myself by: Committing to one day of marketing a week, because for some reason I can’t seem to work on things in small chunks if I have an hour here or there. I’d rather hunker down and do it ALL at once. Are you bored of hearing about my marketing plans yet?

Once again  – yeah, no dice on this one. This is actually a good plan, but as you know, I suck at sticking to a schedule.

This year I will not tolerate: Tons of back and forth emails. I’ve already greatly reduced the number of emails I get, but this year I plan to be super vigilant. I’m all about getting to the point, so my emails tend to be 1-3 liners (if you’ve ever emailed me you’ll know what I mean). Pretty much every week I get an email from someone telling me LITERALLY their whole life story, along with details about how their parents want them to become an engineer, they have dreams of travelling the world, but maybe they should get an MBA instead or maybe go into acting or actually I guess engineering doesn’t sound all that bad and what do I think?  This is of course back from when Uncaged wasn’t super focused on businesses. As hard as it is, I usually send a kind but succinct 3 liner with a referral on to someone else. It’s all about training people to NOT email me for every little thing. Seriously. If you get a ton of emails try it. They always say you have to tell people how to treat you, and email is no exception.

Definitely accomplished this one! I have focused on really being clear and concise in my emails, so that the other person always knows what the next action is (ie. I will email you back; or please go schedule your session here. Always a specific action so that no one is left hanging and we can forward the action).

This year I will take the risk of: Pitching myself to bigger platforms! Eep!!

I have no idea what I meant when I wrote this. But I definitely didn’t do it. Haha.

This year I will go: Belize, for the Catalyze retreat! And to Portland for WDS (but just to hang out at the after-parties). Also, Spain in the fall for a 3 week climbing trip! And likely some other mystery destinations that have not yet revealed themselves.

I almost made it to all of these places! Belize was amazing, and the next Catalyze Retreat is running again in January! And then I went to New York for the first time ever (can you believe it?) for an Uncaged meetup! And Portland was also fantastic! AND – I also ended up in Whistler running ANOTHER retreat. And while I didn’t make it to Spain to climb, I did get to Italy to hang with my friend Kira on her retreat. Oh, and I spent an entire month rock climbing in West Virginia, kind of on a whim. I’d say it was a pretty good year!

I will have: Lot of fun… and hopefully no babies.

Woot! Goal accomplished. Phew.

I will be: Vigilant about LIVING more. Also, you guessed it – making my homemade bath products.

Done! Except I only ventured out to making bath scrubs and nothing else. Got any other great recipes for me? Post them in the comments!

I will have a relationship that isAssuming this means a relationship with my work… It will be one of those relationships where we don’t smother each other and we get looooots of time apart so we can really appreciate what we have when we’re together, but when we’re away from each other we don’t really miss each other that much because our lives are filled with so many other fulfilling things but we’re still very much in love. Yeah, that kind.

I loved reading back on this description, and I feel that I have achieved this in 2014! It makes me realize how insanely I was working in 2013, and makes me appreciate all that hustle so that I am able to take a few steps back now. If you feel like you are working your ass off and you think it is going to be that way forever – it won’t.

 

The hustle won’t ever stop, but once your business gains some momentum, it runs a lot more smoothly than when you are just getting started. I never thought I’d get there. And I did. You will too.

 

I will have friendships that are: REAL. I have met so many amazing people through my business and I’m excited to make some new friends. Because let’s face it – online friends are no longer reserved only for ICQ.

I LOVED meeting some amazing online people in person this year, including Jamie Jensen, Ashley Williams, Rebecca Santilli, Kira Sabin, and reuniting with Makenzie Chilton. And of course, seeing the always amazing Lis Dingjan and Kate Marolt in person is always so special too.

Oh my gosh, and how could I forget my DREAM teams that keep me sane pretty much every week. My FB mastermind with Nikki Groom, Jessica Kupferman, Ellen Ercolini, Illana Burk, Maggie Patterson, and Marie Poulin has me laughing so hard with ridiculous conversations that I often have to triple check that Facebook isn’t publishing them publicly.

And my weekly mastermind with Andrew Owen, Amy Smith, Kate Swoboda, and Kira Sabin has really helped me to finally feel connected in this huge online space of coaches. Thank you ladies. Truly.

Wow. It’s pretty incredible to look back and see how many true friendships you can make through your business. It’s pretty amazing. If you have been trying to do it alone – please, stop now. There is a whole community of online entrepreneurs out there who GET YOU, and who can support you. Connect with them. It will change your business forever.

I will have a body that is: Bangin’. As in, strong and healthy bangin’. Because I’ve been working so much I haven’t been going outside NEARLY enough, which means the old body of mine has been hurtin’ (and since I literally work on my couch everyday, well, you can imagine). Less computer time and more play time makes Becca’s body happy.

I am pleased to announce that my body = happy! Other than a few climbing specific injuries that I am working through right now, my body got LOTS of action this year ; ) Honestly, I don’t think you can survive in business if you’re not taking care of yourself physically.

I will have a career that: Makes people jealous but also inspired to go out and finally do what they want to be doing.

Based on the number of folks who take the time to email me, to join the Uncaged community, and to reach out on Facebook letting me know that I have made them feel like their dreams are possible – I’d say I reached this goal. It is seriously amazing to watch the people in my community hustle and grow and start to shape Uncaged lives of their own. Thank you for sharing that space with me and letting me be a part of your success!

I will hold myself accountable by: Keeping it going strong with my mastermind group. And, dare I say it, PLANNING ahead. Gulp.

Planning. Hm. You might have read my last post about planning. That pretty answers whether or not I stuck to this! LOL.

But seriously – I kind of did. I had an income plan, I knew when I would be running which programs and when, and as always, left some wiggle room for plans to change.

This year, I’ll never, ever: Get stuck in the trap of comparison… for longer than a few minutes.

I have unsubscribed to almost ALL email lists. I still have 2-3 that trickle in, but they go into a separate folder, and I haven’t checked it for months. It has been SO refreshing to just focus on MY business, without worrying what anyone else is doing. I highly recommend this if you are struggling with staying focused in your business.

And I’ll always, always: Aim to do better.

This one was super intangible, but I actually don’t like that goal. I don’t think the struggle to always do better, to BE better, is very helpful.

 

Instead, aim to do the very best you can, in each moment, and recognize that each moment will be different, so your best will change. That’s ok.

 

And what do I want for myself and The Uncaged life going forward into 2015?

I want to continue to make time for yoga, for rock climbing, for riding my bike, for spontaneous trips, and for other unexpected surprises that could change my life just by giving myself the flexibility to say YES.

And I want to continue to cultivate a community of amazing small business owners who want to create THEIR Uncaged lives.

Want to grab your own Uncaged Year In Review worksheet? Click here to download (no opt-in required).

Here’s to having your free-est, most Uncaged year yet!

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 What’s your big Uncaged dream for 2015? Share it in the comments.

 

This is a post about planning. Kind of. But not really. Read on.

It seems to be that time of year that everyone is frantically planning for the new year in their business. I’m seeing yearly planners popping up all over Facebook, business coaches are creating courses to help other businesses plan their year, and when I asked in my Facebook community what people want to read about in my next blog post, an alarming number wanted a post about how to plan their 2015.

So here it is. My blog post about planning. But be warned that this won’t be your typical planning post with timelines and worksheets and neat little tools to help you stay on track and get your business all ready to go so that you know exactly what you are doing and when in 2015.

Why won’t it be that?

Because I don’t really believe in planning.

 

And I don’t believe in planning ESPECIALLY for brand new business owners like you who are still finding your way, still taking the necessary time to carve out your niche, to define your packages, and to figure this whole “running your own business” thing out.

I mean think about it – if you’re just starting your business, you probably aren’t even sure yet if your current services will sell (in fact, you might still be terrified that you will be broke and client-less forever, and you might not even be sure whether you will still have a business in 2015 if things don’t pick up). You probably have no idea how many clients you want to take on at once (“As many as possible” is not a good answer). You’re in the dark about how much money it will actually cost to run your business, so planning finances is tricky. And you definitely don’t know where you will be even 3 months from now, let alone 6, let alone an entire year.

Sure, you can set goals and aim for certain benchmarks, but at the end of the day, until you have been running your business at a steady pace with consistent programs and income for at least 6 months, it is pretty damn hard to plan anything.

 

Planning doesn’t account for the fact that your business will change immensely in the course of a year.

 

You could sit down and make an entire editorial calendar for your blog and email marketing (if you’re into that kind of thing). You could decide on which months you will run each of your current programs (not a bad idea, actually, once you’re clear on what you are actually running). And what time each day you will check your emails (once a day only? Puh-lease! That has never worked for me! I check it about 100 times a day). And you can map out how much money you will be bringing in based on what you are selling (or want to sell) (definitely a good idea, but ONLY after you nail down your packages and services)

But all of that assumes that things in your business will stay the same. That your focus won’t shift. That your clients won’t want anything new, and that what you are selling now is perfect.

And how can you know any of that for sure if you are just getting started?

Your business will change more in the first year than probably any other time, and all your plans will go out the window.

You know what else planning doesn’t account for? Changing your mind. Getting creative ideas on a whim and banging them out in a week. Deciding that you absolutely MUST go on that last minute rendezvous to Nicaragua with that hot guy you started dating in early 2015 but didn’t know you would be dating when you did all your planning in late 2014.

I mean – I can’t even plan my life 5 months ahead, let alone 5 years.

I think it’s part of the Uncaged syndrome. We like movement. Change. Spontaneity.

It’s part of why we want to run our own businesses in the first place – to have the freedom to change our minds, whenever we need to, based on what LIFE is offering us.

 

When you’re just starting your business, having to sit down and hammer out numbers and details can be… overwhelming, to say the least.

 

So then – should you just NOT plan anything?

Well… I’m not necessarily advocating that. But if you’re just starting out and you’re still tinkering with your services, and still trying to work with enough people to get clear on EXACTLY what your expertise is – then maybe NO planning is actually the best option.

Give your business room to breathe. And grow. And change. Without all the added pressure.

 

Remember that everyone runs their business differently, and what works for one person won’t work for another.

 

Wanna see what my “plan” was for 2014? Keep in mind this was a time when my business was pretty solid and I was very clear on what I do, who I help, and what my signature packages are. Here it is:

bp

Literally. That was it.

Wanna know what changed in it? Everything.

1. I planned and ran a whole other retreat in July, so had to slot that in.

2. I decided to take the summer off, so I skipped UYB in August and September and ran it in October instead.

3. I created Nailed It! (which wasn’t even made yet when I wrote this plan) and changed the name to Hey, Nice Package! and had such great feedback that I raised the price to double what I was expecting to charge (I also invested 5x more in creating it than I thought I would).

4. Ellen and I decided to hand over the reigns of Coaching Business Jumpstart to her so she would expand the program and combine it with her current services, so we never did a live version, and I stopped actively marketing it (though I still fully support and believe in the program – it is rad!)

5. I decided I LOVED doing my Message Sessions and that 2 a month weren’t enough slots as they were selling out quickly, so I upped it to 4 per month.

As you can see – even with a plan, things changed.

The gist is – not everyone works on a timeline and a plan. Not everyone operates best with a strict editorial calendar and launch schedule. Not everyone runs their business the same way.

And by trying to follow someone else’s formula all the time, you’re guaranteed to get squished into a box, feel overwhelmed, and constantly be searching for the “right” way to do things. Which is the opposite of creating your business the Uncaged way, right?

If you’re just at the beginning stages of your business, my vote is for you to throw planning out the window and just make sure that you are taking consistent action everyday.

Write blog posts. Work with as many clients as possible. Do your market research and really LISTEN to what people need you to create. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can to as many people as you can.

Keep doing it.

And then don’t stop. And then in a year, after you have played, and experimented, and failed, and scrapped ideas and programs, and started again (and maybe even again) – when you’ve gotten clear as cocaine about what you do and why and for whom, THEN you can think about putting a plan in place.

And even then – find YOUR way of doing it.

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What’s your planning strategy? Do you feel like you need to plan down to the last detail, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

I’m baaaaaack! I haven’t written a blog post all damn summer. Have you noticed??

We all know what they say (and I guess I also say): you can’t just slack off in your business and expect results.

It’s true.

And sometimes you need to just slack off and not expect huge results.

 

That was my summer.

After launching Hey, Nice Package! in the spring, I decided I’d done enough work for the time being, and I hung up my marketing hat for a while to just CHILL the fuck out.

This summer was an interesting one for me. A long-term relationship ended and all of a sudden I was single, living alone in an overpriced apartment, and not really sure how to fill my time.

Actually, typing that out, that sounds like the PERFECT time to hustle my business. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to do anything other than go to yoga, rock climb, run, and sleep.

So I did that. And it has been glorious.

Why should you give a fuck? Why am I telling you this?

 

Because I want you to know that it’s ok to take time off. It’s ok to not feel like working.  It’s ok to not blog for weeks at a time. All of it is ok.

The caveat? Don’t expect huge business growth.

 

For the first few weeks, I felt like I should be working. I felt like if I didn’t work, my business would go from ripe and ready and killin’ it to moldy and squishy, and would just eventually die like a sad banana that you leave sitting there for too long and then can’t even use for a damn smoothie.

But I realized there were things I could do ahead of time to make sure  my business didn’t disappear while I was off traipsing around like a student on summer vacation without a care in the world.

If you know the bare minimum that needs to be done to keep things running smoothly, you can plan your time accordingly and – gasp – actually ENJOY the lifestyle that comes along with having your own business.

 

Whether it’s summer vacation with the fam, a winter ski trip with the girls, or the middle of October and you just need a fucking break – here are a few ways you can slack off like a PRO:

1. Schedule all your social media in advance and just hop on once in a while to check in and respond to people. You might also want to sync Instagram with your Facebook and Twitter, so you can live post anything exciting happening in your life – we all love peering into each other’s personal lives a little more, and your followers probably want to know what you’re up to!

2. If you plan to blog all summer (recommended – do as I say, not as I do! Haha) pre-write blog posts and schedule them ahead of time. Super easy to do and will make sure you’re still pumping out useful content while you’re sipping sangria at the cottage.

3. Pre-set your calendar with all dates that you want to do client sessions. ScheduleOnce does this nicely, and I simply have all my clients book online, so they only see times that I have set as available. That way you know you can screw off on the other days, and the works days will be dedicated work days. Kind of nice not to be booking last minute clients on days you had planned on going to the beach.

4. Know ahead of time when your next programs will run. Make sure to mention those in emails to your list and post about them on social media, so that at launch time, people are already primed. You don’t want to launch with no one having heard from you for months beforehand.

5. Have enough money in the bank as a buffer. If NO ONE bought ANYTHING during your time off, you don’t want to be struggling to pay your rent.

Have you ever taken significant time off? Did it affect your business? I’d love to know how you manage your business while enjoying the lifestyle too! Comment and tell me!

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I’m about to say a very VERY dirty word (or at least a word I THOUGHT used to be dirty) – SYSTEMS.

It just makes me cringeeeeeee. Me, The Uncaged Life, despises anything planned and systematized. Or again, so I thought.

Then I actually implemented systems. And holy shit, not so bad. Actually, pretty fucking great

In fact, if you want to have an Uncaged business, you NEED to get your life and business organized, or else you’ll be spending all your free time working on nitty gritty business stuff instead of gallivanting around the world, taking daily naps, or watching every single episode of Dawson’s Creek back to back like you should be doing.

 

Because when you’re running a business, the easiest way to start to hate it is to get swamped and subsequently overwhelmed with all the little stuff that needs to get done.

 

Better off getting that stuff in order, asap.

Here are a few things I learned (on my own, through trial and error) to systematize in my business over the past 2 years. I wish I had started pretty much all of these sooner. As in right away. But alas, live and learn, and now you get to benefit from my sloppy mistakes.

  • Having a system for taking payment from clients (turns out giving people a choice just means more emails which means less Dawson’s Creek for me)

  • Having a system for scheduling clients (duh. What an idiot I was, scheduling everything by EMAIL)

  • In fact, an entire client intake system that automates everything from beginning to end (my life pretty much became 1000% better when I got this all set up)

  • Blog post system (when/how to write and post, and when/how to promote. I messed around with so many different ways before I actually got a system in place)

  • Social media system (Still working on this one, but things are infinitely better JUST by learning how to organize my time when it comes to social media)

My friend Natasha is launching a course all about implementing systems into your business (click here to see the course outline!), and I knew I had to get my hands on it asap. I also wanted to get in touch with her to ask her a few basic questions about systems, since she’s an expert and that word tends to scare me (and I know I’m not alone in this!).

Watch as Natasha explains what the hell systems actually are (because if you’re anything like me, you think they are scary monsters with 3 eyes and too many arms that are supposed to make things work easier but just sound like a ton of WORK to actually use, and are thus reserved for businesses that have a huge team/tons of money to spend).

She also gives you some tips on systems you can implement NOW in your business (especially if you’re just starting out!) that will help you see your business in a TOTALLY new way. Seriously. Even just hearing her say it gave me one of those a-ha moments and totally helped me see a change that I need to implement in my business immediately.

Watch the video here. The recording is kind of funny and my sound is WAY louder than Natasha’s, so you may need to play with your volume so you can hear her.

Video not working?  Try watching it here.

You can check out the Systematic Success program here. Natasha is a bit nutty I mean generous and is dishing out FREE one-on-one sessions if you join the course before Jan 31. I just booked mine and I seriously feel like I’m gonna get a spanking (in a good way).

Get the course and join me in taking the scare factor out of systems, forever.

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for-the-site2-e1324455668223-213x300Natasha Vorompiova is the founder of SystemsRock, architect of business systems that work and a Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach.  Her clients are small business owners who start their businesses with passion and a desire for freedom, but find themselves stuck and buried in day-to-day operations.  Natasha creates systems that ensure clients get more done in less time and pave the way for greater profits and long-term success. Check out the FREE Systems Chick’s Guide to Transforming Busyness Into Business for simple ways to grow your business.

 

UYBheader2Uncage Your Business is officially open for business. Spots are already getting nabbed faster than the free cheese samples they give out on Saturdays at the grocery store, so claim your spot here if you wanna rock it with me for the entire month of February. Click here to learn more.

It’s the start of a New Year tomorrow, and if you want to make really big changes next year, there are a few things you need to do, and they are not the same things that you’re seeing out there from oh, just about everyone.

I’m not going to tell you to set goals (not SMART goals, not BHAG goals, not any kind of goals).

I’m not going to tell you to make resolutions, or extravagant plans.

I’m not going to tell you to scrap both of those and try intentions instead.

I’m not certainly not going to tell you to do your affirmations.

Because all of that? Is just fluff. It’s for people who don’t get shit done naturally, and need to use 2014 as a re-do after all the stuff they DIDN’T accomplish last year. That’s ok. You’re not a bad person if you operate this way. You’re just trying to do what every business and life guru tells you THEY did to make $100k or move to their dream home or quit their job or buy the llama farm of their dreams.

But the problem with that is that it’s THEIR way.

 

Want to know what actually works? Knowing who you are and what’s important to you, and then DOING it.

 

You’re not a child who needs to be told what to do. You don’t need another strategy or gimmick or outline.

You need to zero in and learn to do things YOUR WAY.

Here’s what I want for you in 2014:

To trust yourself more.

To love yourself more.

To believe in yourself more.

And to get to a point through all of that where you are naturally motivated to do the things you have set out to do (no lists, no intentions, no affirmations required).

And how do you do that? By taking risks. By going out on a limb. By not doing what you said you would do if it doesn’t work for you anymore. by saying yes more. And no more. By starting before you’re ready. By making big decisions in an instant, based on only your gut feeling and a glass of wine.

Because the more you do that? The more you won’t need to worry about setting goals and intentions and resolutions  – you’ll just naturally start to do all the things you want to do. And before you know it, a year will go by and you’ll have achieved WAY more than was on your silly list in the first place.

I should know. It’s how I run my life.

Happy New Year. I’m more excited than a kid on Pop Rocks to watch you kill it in business and life in 2014.

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I’m NOT one for end of year shenanigans, but there’s something about running a business that makes me WANT to be that person – especially a business that just rocked out its second year. SO much can happen in one short year, that I feel like it’s almost part of my JOB to assess where I was a year ago and have a little looksie at what actually unfolded in 2013.

At the end of 2012, I was returning from 7 months of living in a van on a rock climbing trip, during which I worked super part time on my business, so things were starting to gain some legs, but it wasn’t like I was killing it (not even CLOSE) back then.

And because I know how voyeuristic everyone is, here is a straight up look at 2013 and my plans for 2014 (along with a worksheet I made for you to assess your own year. Get it for free here.)

Before I dive into my actual worksheet, here’s a really honest look at the numbers in my business, because I know everyone is curious, you curious little cats, you.

Income in 2012: ~15k

Income Goal for 2013: Triple my income

Actual (gross) income for 2013: ~$85k

Income goal for 2014: $100k

Penis – I mean LIST – size end of 2012:  258

List size end of 2013: 2180

List size goal for 2014: Don’t have one/don’t really care

Pageviews on TheUncagedLife.com in Dec 2012: 3861

Pageviews in Dec 2013: 17,800

Pageviews goal for 2014: Don’t care, as long as it doesn’t drop significantly!

Weekly hours I worked in 201210-12

Weekly hours I worked in 2013: 40+

Weekly hours goal for 2014: 20

Programs/courses I created in 2013: Ongoing one-on-one coaching, Purpose Sessions, Pick My Brain, The Single Session,  Discover  Your Uncaged Career audio training, Discover Your Uncaged Career one-on-one coaching program, 3month open coaching program, Message Therapy Sessions, Coaching Business Jumpstart, Mentor Group, Nailed It, Make Money! course, Catalyze Retreat, Free 15min Uncagings, Email coaching, Uncage Your Business, BrandBurst, Biz Shiz

Anything else you wanna know? Ask in the comments!

 

And now, my official 2013 year in review + 2014 planner worksheet thingy.

I kept them all business related. Click here to download the worksheet to do on your own (it’s free!). Use. Share. And don’t forget to hop into the comments and tell us your best memory of 2013, because awwww, MEMORIES!!

2013 end of year review

My theme word for 2013 was: HUSTLE like a 20dollar hooker. Just kidding, I’m at least worth $50.

This year, I accomplished:  Increasing my income by over 5 times from last year (bling bling!)

...And: Creating my first retreat. We leave January 25 to do business and shit in the jungle. Activities include rockclimbing, caving, and ghetto spa (shhhh, the participants don’t know about that one yet!)

…And: Creating two amazing partnerships (Coaching Business Jumpstart with Ellen and BrandBurst with Lis and Lyndsay). Because working with someone else is WAY more fun and less stressful than doing it all yourself.

I did not accomplish: Balancing my time well during the week (womp womp). I worked WAY too much. It was all good, but I’m ready to step it down a notch/try out this whole “work smarter” thing people are always yammering on about.

What got in my way was: Loving my work (and making money). I love my work and I love money (in the most non-douchey way possible), so when those two things are a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’. Or I guess DO come a knockin’. It’s hard to stop working. Which I guess isn’t the worst problem in the world to have – work you like so much you never want to stop.

I am most proud of: Having the guts and drive to stick with it to the point where I am living fully off my business income. Coming home from the roadtrip in December 2012, I actually went out and GOT a job because I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. So I served tables one day a week to make enough to pay my rent, and hustled my business the rest of the time. But as of April, I was able to leave that job and never look back. I remember dreaming of the days where I’d never have to go to work wearing pants, and am happy to way I am currently living the dream. As in, right now. No pants guys. Seriously.

I worked hardest at: Creating a community. The Uncaged Lifers private community is SUCH an amazing group of people, and while I can’t take credit for all of THEM (though wouldn’t it be cool if we could control other people’s levels of coolness?), I did spend a lot of time in that group – answering people’s questions, helping out, sharing, and chatting with the people who are really showing up and doing the work. Now (in less than 6 months!) the community is 800+ strong and growing! And while I’ve stepped out a little to focus on my paid clients, the group is so supportive of each other that no one ever has that feeling of being picked last in gym class, even without me there all the time. Pretty cool that I created that!

I failed most epically at: That little word called balance. Not that I think it’s a real thing (my life is about as balanced as a tilt-a-whirl). But 2013 was definitely a work cycle. I think I want 2014 to be a FUN cycle – more travel for work-related stuff and more DIY home projects (homemade lip gloss anyone? how about a bath scrub? or an all natural toothpaste, which may or may not turn out to be a total disaster).

And what I learned from this failure was: I do what I want when I want, and if I want to work a LOT, I’m going to do it. The few times I tried to create set work hours, I ended up not really sure what else to do with my time (and yes, I realize how lame that sounds, hence the new obsession). Everything goes in cycles, and 2013 just happened to be  work cycle. But it took that hardcore work cycle to get me to a point where now I can chill the fuck out a little. And let’s be honest, most of that “hardcore work” was me messing around on Facebook, soooo, it still wasn’t all that bad.

What I would have done differently this year is: Dropped  long-term one-on-one clients WAY earlier in the year. I love wham-bam kind of work, and taking ongoing clients was exhausting to me (but clients, if you’re reading this, I still love you!! It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.) I wish I’d given myself permission earlier to work fully and completely MY way.

The biggest lesson I learned was: That a lot can happen in one year, and if you stick with it and put yourself out there, you’ll be surprised. Also, working for months on end while sitting on a couch with really mess up your body.

My biggest challenge was: Getting one-on-one clients near the beginning of the year. I wasn’t focused in enough, even though the whole idea of Uncaged is pretty niche-y in and of itself. It wasn’t until I got laser focused on only working with a really specific type of client that my business started to really take off. So if you’re still doing super vague work, focus that shiz in harrrrd. Even if you think you’re already focused, I bet you’re not as specific as you could be. Yeah, it’s scary, and yeah, it pays off. It doesn’t mean you can’t change things later or broaden your scope (in fact, this is exactly what I do with people in my Message Therapy sessions – help them create that foundational message to build their business around so that they have room to broaden things without confusing the hell out of everyone).

The biggest risk I took was: I honestly can’t even think of anything that feels like a risk! Maybe it was moving to the Dominican for a few months? Or letting go of my longterm client services? Or putting ALL my eggs into my Uncage Your Business basket? But none of these felt risky to me after living in a van for a year (and even that never actually felt like a risk), so I guess it’s all perspective.

This year I tolerated: A shitty website… at least until this month! I’d done a $1000 revamp last year, and knew that eventually I’d have to get the whole thing done properly, but at some point you have to let it go and just focus on your work. So that’s what I did. My site did the job, but was a hot mess behind the scenes and let’s be honest – it pretty much gave everyone who saw it a migraine. So I tolerated it until I couldn’t tolerate it anymore, and bit the bullet and paid for a full upgrade. It was worth it.

I kicked serious ass at: Creating a thriving community. I am really really proud of that, and am often told that it’s one of the best communities around.

I became a different person this year in these ways: I learned that the more I let go of all the rules and stop trying to do what the business gurus tell me to do. I can take what they tell me and then twist it to work for me. So I’m more confident in my business than I was last year. I also finally feel like my business will sustain me (something I couldn’t say last year when I made $15k and wasn’t sure how I’d ever pay my bills with my biz). I now feel like a real, legit business person (minus the power suit. Or maybe I should bring back the power suit?). Not that you need to make money to be legit, but well… you kinda do, or else your business is really just an expensive hobby. I definitely felt the need to make a legit income,  just to prove all those  big jerks wrong who were like “One day you’ll have to get a real job, you can’t just keep gallivanting around the world all willy nilly .” #shutyourface #watchme #ihavemorefunthanyou #andmakemoremoneythanyou #imanicepersonbuthavesomelingeringangerissuestowardspeoplewhotellmetogetarealjob

I learned this year that I am: Good at what I do. I didn’t really believe it last year. I had a big case of fraud-u-litis. But the more I stopped doing my work the way I was taught, the more confident I became. Funny how that works.

I am uber grateful this year for: The constant and unwavering support of my sweet sweet boyfriend Mike. He has NO idea about this whole online business world (he works for the Government doing some amazing work of his own), and I constantly feel like a superhero when I tell him my accomplishments (even though they often feel teeny tiny to me). He’s the best!

And: Meeting Lis Dingjan. I hired her after she pitched one of her services to me (it really works! Try it – find someone who needs what you have and tell them how much you want to help them!). She designed the Catalyze retreat page for us, and it was instant friendship. Lis works her ass off  for her clients – more than anyone I have ever met. In fact, TOO MUCH. We have had many talks about boundaries and setting expectations. She’s getting there :) I went to visit her in real life in November all the way in Holland (with a little side trip to Morocco when it started getting too cold in Tilburg), and it was proof that you really can make lifelong friends online (awwwww, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it). 

If I remember one thing from this year, I want it to be: That this is the year that everything clicked.

2014 PLANSIES

My theme word for 2014 is: LIFE

This year I will commit to doing more of: Creating courses that are online and require less of my attention on an ongoing basis. Right now I have Biz Shiz and Coaching Business Jumpstart, and I know that a lot of what I do has great potential to be turned into online material, so I can get out and enjoy my Uncaged Life more, instead of working like a 9-5er (ironic, right!?)

I would be most proud of myself if: I could get to the point where my biz runs smoooooth like butta’ and I can stick to 15  hour workweeks. Right now I’m at about 50+, so wish me luck!

I will commit to accomplishing: Creating a little book that I have just started thinking about thanks to the amazing Illana Burk. Also, the homemade boy care products. Keep your eye for Uncaged toothpaste in 2014.

And… Setting a schedule for my marketing so that  I have one day a week where I am doing all things marketing related, because marketing is fun and important.

And… ONLY taking client calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and taking Mondays and Fridays off like a bawse.

I will STOP doing: Spending so much time on Facebook. I love it, and it serves me well in my business, but I am committing to setting my self-control app on the regular and getting the hell off the crack.

I anticipate my biggest challenge to be: Growing my reach big enough that I can sell out my group program every single time at the pricepoint I’d like. Hence the marketing focus early in the year.

I will make it easier on myself by: Committing to one day of marketing a week, because for some reason I can’t seem to work on things in small chunks if I have an hour here or there. I’d rather hunker down and do it ALL at once. Are you bored of hearing about y marketing plans yet?

This year I will not tolerate: Tons of back and forth emails. I’ve already greatly reduced the number of emails I get, but this year I plan to be super vigilant. I’m all about getting to the point, so my emails tend to be 1-3 liners (if you’ve ever emailed me you’ll know what I mean). Pretty much every week I get an email from someone telling me LITERALLY their whole life story, along with details about how their parents want them to become an engineer, they have dreams of travelling the world, but maybe they should get an MBA instead or maybe go into acting or actually I guess engineering doesn’t sound all that bad and what do I think?  This is of course back from when Uncaged wasn’t super focused on businesses. As hard as it is, I usually send a kind but succinct 3 liner with a referral on to someone else. It’s all about training people to NOT email me for every little thing. Seriously. If you get a ton of emails try it. They always say you have to tell people how to treat you, and email is no exception.

This year I will take the risk of: Pitching myself to bigger platforms! Eep!!

This year I will go: Belize, for the Catalyze retreat! And to Portland for WDS (but just to hang out at the after-parties). Also, Spain in the fall for a 3 week climbing trip! And likely some other mystery destinations that have not yet revealed themselves.

I will have: Lot of fun… and hopefully no babies.

I will be: Vigilant about LIVING more. Also, you guessed it – making my homemade bath products.

I will have a relationship that is: Assuming this means a relationship with my work… It will be one of those relationships where we don’t smother each other and we get looooots of time apart so we can really appreciate what we have when we’re together, but when we’re away from each other we don’t really miss each other that much because our lives are filled with so many other fulfilling things but we’re still very much in love. Yeah, that kind.

I will have friendships that are: REAL. I have met so many amazing people through my business and I’m excited to make some new friends. Because let’s face it – online friends are no longer reserved only for ICQ.

I will have a body that is: Bangin’. As in, strong and healthy bangin’. Because I’ve been working so much I haven’t been going outside NEARLY enough, which means the old body of mine has been hurtin’ (and since I literally work on my couch everyday, well, you can imagine). Less computer time and more play times makes Becca’s body happy.

I will have a career that: Makes people jealous but also inspired to go out and finally do what they want to be doing.

I will hold myself accountable by: Keeping it going strong with my mastermind group. And, dare I say it, PLANNING ahead. Gulp.

This year, I’ll never, ever: Get stuck in the trap of comparison… for longer than a few minutes.

And I’ll always, always: Aim to do better.

 

Get the free End Of Year worksheet here and do your own!

 

What was your best memory from 2013? Sharing in the comments is almost like reliving the memory… almost.

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I was thinking the other day about how I got started with all this crazy online business stuff in the first place. How did this happen? Two years ago, I dreamed of the business I have today, but I didn’t have a clue what to do to get here. I was totally and completely in the dark about a lot of what goes on online.

 

And I started to think back to the defining moment where I was like “A-ha! This is it! This is what I have to do! This is what the fuck I should do with my life!”

 

If I had to pin it down to one moment, one person, one thing that got me to where I am now – what would that be?

And the first thing that came to mind was Tad Hargrave.

Tad and I were hanging out in Toronto, having lunch (pho!) and jamming about how I had no idea what to do with my life. I remember him drawing a little diagram of yoga, rock climbing, food, and travel, and us trying to figure out how the hell to mesh them all together. Nothing was feeling like a fit. I was frustrated (and he was helping me for free, so I’m sure he wasn’t exactly having a ball either).

He went up to go to the bathroom, and he casually dropped a book on the table and said I should have a look at it, that I might find it interesting.

The book was The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. I started scrolling through it, and went home and immediately ordered two copies (I didn’t know who the second one was for yet, but I knew SOMEONE would need it).

 

I wouldn’t say the book changed my life (I’m way too cynical to put that much stock into any one thing), but it was a catalyst of sorts. So you might say that Tad was responsible for me getting to where I am now.

 

Which is true. And it isn’t.

I met Tad at nutrition school in Toronto. He was doing a free talk to promote his marketing workshop. If I had never been in that class, that day (which is actually pretty likely, since I skipped class a LOT), I’d never have met Tad. And never have gotten the book. And maybe never have started The Uncaged Life.

So I guess I have nutrition school to thank.

But why was I at nutrition school? I was there because I had learned about it from a friend who I used to work with in Vancouver. She was going to school for holistic nutrition and introduced me to the program.  I thought it sounded pretty cool, and I figured I’d give it a shot. If I hadn’t heard about nutrition school, I’d never had met Tad, and never have started my business.

At the time, my friend and I were working together at a little restaurant called Rocky Mountain Flatbread (best pizza ever, FYI). I actually got her the job, because my roommate at the time was her best friend, and she introduced us. So I ‘spose I have my roommate Christine, and RMF to thank.

But the reason I even knew about RMF was because I went there for the first time with my boyfriend at the time, Tyler. We went for dinner with friends, and I ate sundried tomato and goat’s cheese pizza. So I guess I have Tyler to thank, because if it wasn’t for Tyler, I’d never have found RMF, and never have met Julia, and never have gone to nutrition school, and never had met Tad, and never have found The Art Of Non-Conformity, and never started my business.

But I actually met Tyler through a job I was working in Vancouver. I started working as a lab coordinator for a research company (they tested investigational drugs in people for the first time – ew! I can’t even believe I worked there!). Tyler was the old lab coordinator, and was moving on to a different job, and I was taking his place. So that weird lab job is partly responsible for my business today.

But I found the job through an online job search site that my friend Brynne showed me… and I was staying with Brynne because I had just gotten back from Korea and didn’t have a place to live… and I was in Korea because of my friend Stacey… and I knew Stacey from old friends in high school…

And so on… and so on.  You see how this works.

 

It’s never just one thing. It’s LIFE that leads you to where you need to be, and the more you get out and live life, the closer you will get to where you are supposed to be.

 

Meet people. Read books. Fall in love. Get jobs. Quit jobs. Travel. Explore.

THAT is how you will figure your life out. Not by planning incessantly. Not by trying really hard to figure out the ONE perfect thing.

And while it’s redundant to say that “everything in my life has led me to this point” (I hate when people say that – that’s how life fucking works) – you must believe in that process.

You must believe in it. And you must trust it.

Kinda scary right? Yep.

Worth it? Totally.

What about you? Can you trace a line back from where you are now to where it all started? It’s like six degrees of separation… kind of. Outline your story in the comments. You might be surprised at the people and experiences you need to go back and thank :)

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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:

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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You may remember that a mere 2 months ago, I moved to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It was a spur of the moment decision, a quick escape from the city, a way to get away from a situation when I wasn’t sure what else to do. I had planned on being there for 3-4 months, maybe longer.

And as I write this, I’m sitting here in my apartment in Toronto. Back home, 6 weeks later. What happened to “3-4 months, maybe longer?”

I changed my mind.

And inevitably, I got all kinds of responses to this:

“What, you’re leaving paradise?”

“Things just not working out for you there?”

“Couldn’t hack it?”

And really, none of those are true (especially the paradise one. What the hell do people think I do, sit on the beach all day sipping icy rum drinks and updating Facebook from my phone? I went to the beach once. I lived on the outskirts of the city, where I stayed indoors for 9 hours a day working my as off. The assumptions people make about my life are wild. Yeah, it’s pretty sweet, but c’mon people – I still work!). Anyway, I decided, for a variety of reasons, that I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be in Toronto. So 6 weeks later, I bought a return ticket and came home. No fear about what people would think. No worries about sticking to my commitment. No “sticking it out” just for the sake of it.

 

Here’s my whole thing about finishing what you start:

I think it’s total bullshit.

 

We almost always start things without having the full picture. Often we start things and our circumstances change. Sometimes we start things and we just plain don’t like them. There are probably a thousand reasons why you might change your mind. But so many people are stuck in the “finish what I started” mindset that they trap themselves in situations that suck.

 

The problem with the “finish what you started/stick it out” mentality is that it doesn’t account for the fact that we never have any idea how something is going to turn out.

 

This is how life works. We do something, and we’re never really sure of where it will lead us. So to start something and be wholeheatedly committed to seeing it through doesn’t make any sense, when you think about it.

You have to give yourself permission to change your mind.

Here’s a little analogy that just came to mind: Let’s say you’re a little afraid of heights, but you decide you’re going to walk across one of those old wooden suspension bridge thingies. You say to yourself “I’m going to finally do this!” and you start walking. And when you’re about halfway across,  you notice that the other end of the bridge is on fire. It’s burning, and in a few minutes, it will burn  right through and the whole bridge will come crashing down. You look back, and realize you still have time to turn around and walk back to where you started. No harm done. So then, do you say to yourself “The bridge may be burning, but goddammit, I committed to walking this bridge, and I’m going to do it! Even if it means I have to die for it!”

No. Of course not. That would be ridiculous. You didn’t know when you committed that the bridge would start to burn. You didn’t know that it would be a life or death decision. You just decided it was something that would feel good to do, so you went for it. But it didn’t really work out the way you thought, and halfway through, the logical thing to do would be to re-assess the situation, determine whether it was working for you (which, in the bridge case, it most definitely wasn’t), and reevaluate what you should do from there.

But this isn’t how we generally operate, is it? We tend to want to see things through, because we were taught at a young age that quitters never win.

We stay in academic programs we loathe and jobs that suck. We pour all our effort into business projects that just aren’t working, instead of reevaluating what’s not working and tweaking as we go. We make big life decisions that we defend to the death, for fear of being judged, looking like a quitter, or a failure, or like we “can’t hack it”.

 

We put all this stock into making the “right” decision, for fear that once we decide, that’s it. It’s final. And that it just totally ridiculous!

 

Not only is it ridiculous, but it’s also so, so backwards. We don’t know how something is going to work out til we try it, so to put so much weight into a decision that we haven’t even really tested out yet is just insane. What’s even more amusing is that we let the fear of making the wrong decision paralyze us and stop us from making any decision at all – which is a surefire way to get us nowhere. Duh.

So we hum and haw and stress, and we finally make THE DECISION, then we shame ourselves for changing our minds when it doesn’t work out for us.

Are you seeing how illogical this is?!

 

So the entire reason for this post is to help you take the shame out of changing your mind. To give you permission to go back on your decisions when they aren’t working out.

 

Not that you need my permission, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone tell you that what you’re feeling is totally normal, right?

There is no shame in changing your mind. If someone wants to judge you for it, that’s their own shit. And it’s usually a sign that they are stuck in something they don’t want to be in, and they’re too afraid to change their mind. Don’t let someone else’s baggage bring you down.

Take a stand for yourself, change your mind, and who knows… maybe you’ll inspire someone else to do the same.

 

What situation are you stuck in that you reaaallly want to bail on, but you’re sticking out for fear of being judged if you change your mind? Comment down there with your story.

 

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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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‘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 want to quit my corporate job and bartending job so I can blog, launch my magazine, write books, also open a spiritual healing and life coaching business. I’ve dreams and desires and they are about to bust out! However, I am in complete fear of giving up A) a steady paycheck and knowing precisely how much money I have each week and the security of knowing I can pay my bills B) health insurance.

Everything inside of me is literally screaming, “Just fucking do it, even if you have to live in your car”

Sigh… How did you take the leap? How do you take the leap with literally zero reserves saved up but your soul feels like it’s dying every day you put on your heels and walk into that office.

Answer:

I responded to a similar version of this question a few weeks ago, so I may be repeating myself, but it’s worth repeating.

 

My general advice goes as such: Don’t quit your day job… unless you are totally ok with risk, debt, and total uncertainty.

 

Here’s my story of how I started my business. It will be different than yours, which will be different than anyone else’s, so keep that in mind. At the end of the day, you have to decide what will work for you.

I had been off work for about a year. When I say “off work”, I mean I decided to just take some time off from having a job and enjoy life in Toronto. I rode my bike a lot, napped in the park, did a ton of yoga, went to the Dominican twice, spent a month in BC camping, climbed my butt off and generally just didn’t worry about money. Was I going into debt? Yes, a little. Did I care? Not a bit.

After almost a year of this, the whole time teetering on the edge of business building but not quite there yet, my boyfriend and I decided we were going to go on an epic (I’m over that word) roadtrip and live in a van for 8 months. “Sweet”, I thought. “That will save me rent money!” I also realized that it was now or never to start my business. I wasn’t prepared to wait another 8 months, which meant I had to start NOW so that things would be up and running when I was on the road.

So I got my ass in gear and hired some help for my website, hired a copywriter, hired a coach, got a few clients, and got another job. 

I worked my ass off for someone else for the next 6 months – paying off debt, building a foundation for my business, and saving enough money to pay for upcoming business expenses that I knew I would want to invest in.

Then I sold everything I owned  to pay off the rest of my debt and bank some coin, and moved into a van and ran my business from the road (the logistics of which will come in a later post, I’m sure). My goal was to make $250/month from my new business while I travelled.

Now – I’m not too worried about risk, debt and mega uncertainty. I knew I’d have very few expenses, some savings for backup, and more than that, thanks to many years of living the broke-ass backpacker lifestyle, I knew I could figure it out if I ever totally ran out of money.

But not everyone can live like this/wants to live like this. So you really, really need to decide what will work for you.

 

If you want me to tell you what to do, my best advice is to not make everything so black or white.

 

Keep your day job, and in the meantime start your business. If you’re worried about money, then this is the obvious option, but most people seem to think they have to decide between the two. Why can’t you do both?

If it’s really money that’s holding you back (is it? Get super honest with yourself… It might be something else. Fear of failure? Fear of not being good enough? All that shit is usually disguised as money stuff), then decide how much money you need to live off comfortably (whatever that means for you), and then either wait to leave your job til you’re making that amount, or have enough money saved to live off for at least 6 months with no income while you get your business off the ground. Pretty straightforward, right?

Then – and this part is equally important as the money part – figure out ways to make your job great til you leave. Start to appreciate the money you’re making, knowing that it’s funding your dream business. Start a countdown on your calendar at work til you leave. Change your attitude about  your job and learn to love it while you’re still there. Your job is your ticket to freedom right now, so start treating it as such!

Then leave when you’re financially ready to leave.

Orrrr… just quit now and figure it out. Ha

 

My point is, the end of the day only you know what you’re willing to risk, so get clear on what what is, and then choose something. Cuz staying in limbo fretting over “to leap or not to leap” is guaranteed to get you nowhere.

 

What do you think? How did you make the leap? Are you a risk-taker, or a cautious planner? Drop your comments below and tell us what your exit strategy is/was!

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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 Uncaged answers.

QUESTION

I’m feeling stuck. I’m so dying to create my Uncaged career, but I don’t have the money to go after this crazy dream right now. I’ve been offered a full time job that would lead to a great career, but I don’t want to be working for someone else forever. I’m afraid of getting even more stuck if I take this job, because all I really want to be doing is working towards my new business! But I need income to survive. Should I take the job to help save money to build my Uncaged career?

ANSWER

Ohhh this one is SO common and I’m so glad someone asked it.

My short answer is YES – take the job.

 

I never recommend that anyone put that much stress on themselves and their new business by not having a backup income.

 

In fact, when I started my business I hadn’t been working for a year, and I went out and got a job. I knew I wanted to make my business work, but I didn’t want to be eating ramen noodles for the next year either!

And there are a few different ways to approach this question.

Let’s start with the actual question – should I take the job? I say yes, because it can take a lot of time to build a business that is financially sustainable, and there is nothing Uncaged about not being able to pay your rent. If you go into the job thinking of it as your business loan, as the thing that is funding your dream, and remember that it’s just temporary (whether your boss knows or not), it will take the financial pressure off. That way, you can grow your business slowly on the side, and once you’re making enough money to live off it, you can make the transition out. Yes, this means you will be working two jobs for a while… but it’s better than putting all that pressure on yourself to make money fast (which is not usually how it goes when you start a business). That’s when most entrepreneurs quit – when it’s not happening as fast as they want/need it to, and they don’t have a backup income stream.

Now, to attack it from another angle:

 

Who says you need a ton of money to start your business?

 

Yes, you need enough for the basics to live – food, rent, wine, etc. But nowadays, if you’re building what I call an Uncaged Career – which means your business is based online  – startups costs are crazy low (it none at all).

Start by grabbing clients within your immediate circle. Start talking to people about what you do, and asking people to be your clients. Clients are everywhere! Start working with them NOW! That doesn’t cost you anything, yo!

Then slap up a website, even if it’s a super basic one, and get started making a name for yourself! You don’t need a few thousand dollars to get started. In fact, I created a video last year walking you through exactly how to do it yourself for FREE. Start creating great content that helps people (and get a free account from Mailchimp to start gathering email addresses of people who visit your site) and things will start to grow!

Think you need to hire a copywriter? Think again. After working with the best copywriters out there and spending thousands of dollars on business courses, what I’ve learned is that writing your copy yourself is totally easy IF you know how to do it. So how do you do it? Write in your clients language. Their exact language. Find a handful of your ideal clients, and survey them! Listen to how they talk about their problems, and then cut and paste their exact words into your copy. When new people come to your site, they are going to think “Holy shit! She’s talking directly to me!” and they will fall in love with you and give you their money. And once again, this costs you absolutely nothing.

That’s it, that’s all.

 

You don’t need a lot of money to do this, and there is no point in waiting til you have money to get started

 

As your business grows, you can start to invest in a better website, a business coach, whatever else it is that will help you grow your business, but to get started, you DO NOT need a ton of cash.

Bootstrap it baby!

So, my real answer to this questions is – Yes, take the job, and build your business in the meantime.

Stop using money as an excuse and get started already.

I’d love to hear what you think! Are you stuck between business and job? How does it feel to know that you don’t have to choose right now? Comment below!

Got a question you need answered? Shoot ’em over to becca@theuncagedlife.com with the subject FIGURE IT OUT FRIDAY.

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‘Figure It Out Fridays’ is a new blog series happening every week where you submit questions about figuring out what the hell you should do with your life – and I give you brilliant, Uncaged answers.

This week’s question comes from a reader who describes herself as being in “analysis paralysis”. She’s stressing SO much over her two options that she can’t seem to decide what to do (anyone relate to this?). Here’s what she asked:

QUESTION:

I am on maternity leave with my first child and don’t know where to go from here. A HUGE part of me wants to stay home and raise my daughter and use my free time to read (namely your rad blog), cook, write, do yoga, hike, and live by the guidance of my inner voice, my spirit. And the other part of me (equally persuasive) wants to nail down a good job, take in a steady pay cheque, earn the respect of my family and peers and achieve more in the professional world.

So, the free spirit or the power suit?

ANSWER:

First thing’s first – you have narrowed down your options BIG TIME if you are only seeing these two choices.There are NEVER only two options. It’s never that black and white. Never. Don’t believe me? Poll 100 people and ask them “What would be another option to this situation”, and guaranteed you’d get a lot of really cool answers. It’s just hard to see the other options when you’re right in the middle of it.

So start with asking yourself – what are the other options here? What if I didn’t have to choose? There might be a sweet mix of both that is possible.

The next place I would look at is what is driving the desire for each one. How does each outcome align with your longterm vision?

But more importantly than all that – what is drawing you to each option? What values are you honoring with each option? If you were to step back and re-read your question as if it wasn’t your situation – what stands out to you?

Here’s what I’m seeing: With the free-spirit option, you’d be “following the guidance of your inner voice”. My guess is that this same “inner guidance” that you are longing to follow is actually guiding you right now… But you’re not listening to it! What’s up with that?

Now look at the second option, which would allow you to “earn the respect of family and peers”.  What is driving this decision, really? Is is your “inner guidance” (the one you’re so keen to take the time to listen to?) or is it other people’s values?

Let’s be honest here – there is no way that I can tell you what to do. Nada. I have no idea what is best for you. But, what I can do is help you to see where your decisions are coming from and help you take a step back from your life to you can see it more objectively. And my best piece of advice right now is to ask yourself what you are REALLY feeling called to do. Without worrying about anyone else (because I know you said that financially and otherwise, your husband supports you in either situation) – what do you really want? You’re reading a website called The Uncaged Life – so what do you need to Uncage?

And yes I knowwwww – It’s often hard to actually hear this answer, because it requires that you immediately shut down all the nasty voices in your head telling you that you’re making the wrong decision. The same voices that make these kinds of decisions more complicated than they need to be. But the ONLY way that you will ever make the “right” decision is to tell those voices to go to hell, and get really honest with yourself about what you want.

And then that’s what you should do.

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I’m sweating right now. Which is a problem for my all-natural deodorant. I may have to upgrade.

Anyway. Why am I sweating?

Because I live in the Dominican biz-natches! And it’s bloody hot here.

 

I up and moved here from Toronto exactly one week ago. I made the decision to move here exactly 3 weeks before that.

 

Ane people keep asking me:

“Why the Dominican?”

“How did you decide?”

“What drew you to the DR?”

“How many places did you research before deciding?”

And my answer is probably a liiiiittle different than they are expecting.

“Dunno. Was just easy”.

Places I researched = nada.

Amount of research I did about Santo Domingo, the city I live in = nada.

Basically, I have a few friends here from the climbing community, and one of them was all like “Becca – you should just move here! You can live in my house!”

And I was all like “Ok!”

And that was that. Easy. Done.

Sure, it’s not my ideal location (I’d rather be on a beach, obvz). It might not even be my ideal country – there are places higher on my list than the DR (shhh, don’t tell it I said that!).

And I could have spent weeks researching all the possibilities, looking at the weather, checking prices for cost of living + flights, checked out the local expat scene in each city, asked friends what they thought, spent hours googling and scouring travel forums for info on the BEST place to go.

Or I could choose to do it the easy way.

 

Not everything has to be so difficult.

 

Not every decision needs hours of researching, agonizing, pro-/con-ing. When you’re in analyzing mode, your brain literally has no room to make good decisions. You’re busy stressing yourself out with worrying about all the little details, and the bigger picture (not to mention the FUN of the whole thing!) gets lost.

Sometimes, you just have to make a decision and roll with it. If it’s the wrong one, it’s the wrong one. No biggie. You course correct, you move on, and you learn something from it.

Point being: I didn’t get here by spending months stressing over it, making sure it was the perfect choice. Besides – we all know that puts wayyy too much pressure on it, which usually leads to disappointment. Which leads to sadness. Which leads to binge eating dulce de leche (and god knows there is enough of that going on here already).

Stop making everything so precious – pick something you want and go for it.

 

Because while you’re sitting around agonizing over it, someone else is out there living it.

 

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So you’ve got about a million ideas of things you want to do with your life. A gajillion interests that are pulling you in different directions. You want to travel! And knit! And you love taking pictures! And you love starting businesses! And you love educating yourself on the newest trends in hipster fashion!

Which should you pursue?

 

How are you supposed to start when you don’t even know where you’re going?

 

I have two answers for you, both super simple, and both totally contradictory. You have been warned.

 

Option 1: Just Pick

Just pick one and START. Seriously. Just pick. The more time you spend in your head analyzing it, trying to make the decision about the exact perfect one, the more time you’re NOT out there doing it. Which is the whole point, right? Nothing is life or death, not decision is forever. Pick the one you feel most compelled to pick, and see where it takes you. Life is all trial and error, and you’ll ever know how it will go til you try.

Option 2: Don’t pick

Don’t pick. Seriously. Don’t pick. Why should you have to choose? Find ways to do them all. One might be a small side project. One might be a full fledged career. One might just be a hobby. Some might help make you money, some might not. But there is no reason why you can’t just continue to do them all and, similar to option #1, see where it leads you.

 

The longer you stay in indecision, the longer you’re not actually doing anything.

 

Don’t get stuck in the trap! The best way to get started, is to just get started.

Do something. Anything. And trust that you’ll know what your next move is.

Be sure to leave a comment on this post telling us where in your life you have been stalling on getting started, and what you will do to shift into action.

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I’m writing this post 30 000 ft up in the air, sipping cheap white wine and eating microwaved chicken (which, surprisingly, isn’t half bad). I’m on a recon mission to a hot tropical island to do some research for the Uncaged Adventure Retreat. Or at least that’s what I’m telling the tax man. Really, I just wanted to get away for a while.

As I sit here looking around the plane, I’m surrounded by people who are on their way to all-inclusive resorts. They have their base tans (the ones they spent the past 3 weeks cultivating in the tanning bed), and their Bermuda shorts, and most of them are already on their 3rd drink.

 

And while they’re happy as little clams, I can’t help but feel sorry for them.

 

For most of these people, this is what they have looked forward to ALL year. They’ve slaved away at their jobs, with their families, working their asses off to save the money, get the time off, find someone to watch the kids (except the annoying family in front of me with the screaming 4 year old – I guess they couldn’t get a sitter).

These people work hard. And this is their payoff?

Doesn’t really seem like a fair trade to me.

And I’m going to take a moment here to call myself out on something that has been coming up a lot for me lately.

 

The internet is saturated with “Live your dreams!”, “Quit the 9-5!”, “Follow Your Passions!” advice. Advice that I think is really, really irresponsible.

 

And I sometimes get worried that I am contributing to it, and I want to set the record straight.

While living the entrepreneurial life – the one where you get to take off to a hot tropical island on a last minute flight, where you get to work while drinking white wine on a plane, and bring your laptop to the beach with you – it’s GREAT. Don’t get me wrong.

BUT.

But but but…

 

Sitting here pretending that it’s easy to just leave your life as you know it behind and start anew with a brand new dream passion job, would be an utter and total LIE.

 

It’s more than a lie. It’s BULLSHIT.

If you had any idea how hard I work, how hard we all work, and how much of a hustle it is, you might have a change of heart.  It’s why you have to really LOVE what you’re doing, be GOOD at what you’re doing, and fill some kind of NEED in the marketplace. It’s not just about passion. Passion won’t cut it.

I spend 90% of my time marketing and selling and about 10% coaching. Luckily I LOVE marketing, but most business owners feel who aren’t as well versed in it get a hard reality check when they first get started.

And I’m getting off topic.

The point is – it’s not just an easy up and out to make the switch. And it’s definitely not the right move for everyone.

 

So then… all the people sitting on this plane with me who are thrilled to be taking a week off work, what are they supposed to do? They’re not willing to give up their jobs – they need the stable income, they have kids and families  to support, and they kind of enjoy being able to leave work at 5pm and not think about it again until 9am. Many of them are actually totally ok being in jobs they don’t LOVE, because they understand that work is work, and it’s not their entire life.

But they still have a longing for more meaning in life. More excitement. More of a feeling like their life is worth something bigger than themselves.

Many of my clients are like this, and I see it all the time. They come to be asking me to help them find their passion, thinking that bold moves and big changes are the solution.

I want more connection with people – maybe I should become a coach!” That type of thing.

And when we really dig into it, what’s really going on is that they have lost connection with what’s important to them. Their values are being stepped on BIG TIME, and they have no idea what they are anymore, let alone how to get them back.

For these clients, the solution we get to on our coaching calls is RARELY that they should quit their job and start their own business. It’s usually more about bringing more of what they love and what is missing back into their lives.

 

If you’re not ready for a major life switch,try implementing a few super small life-switches.

 

I’m talking about things like carving out one night a week for a date night with your partner. Or making a point of catching up with old friends. Or starting a hobby class on the weekends, where you can finally learn to master the pinch pot, or cultivate your passion for kombucha brewing.

There are PLENTY of ways to bring more of whatever you feel is missing into your life without having to take drastic measures.

(And sometimes drastic measures are called for.)

The key is to figure out what is right for you, and not get lost in all the irresponsible advice that’s being thrown around on the internet.

THAT’S what living Uncaged really means – listening to what’s right for YOU, and learning to course correct your life accordingly as you go.

Next time you feel like you just NEED to quit your job or make some other kind of huge move, check in with yourself and make sure that’s really what you want. And if not, find other ways to fill the gap that’s missing in your life so you don’t have to rely on your one big tropical vacation a year to fill the void.

And, if leaving the job, buying the ticket, and working on a beach in Thailand is the ONLY option for you, then pursue it for all you’ve got, and know that you’re in for one hell of a ride :)

And now, for a nap. This wine is making me sleepy.

If you’ve ever felt like you needed a change, be sure to post a comment and tell us what you did to ease that feeling – was it a major switch, or a mini-switch?

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There once was a time when I couldn’t even IMAGINE telling people what I wanted to create. It sounded silly to me.

“I want to create a website and a coaching business that helps people have cool, fun, adventurous lives”.

Oh god, I couldn’t even utter the words. Because it felt SO far away. And I had no idea how I was going to do it (and also no confidence that I would even be able to make it happen if I tried).

 

And that was EXACTLY my problem. I was SO stuck in the HOW, that I never really let myself get excited about the WHAT.

 

You know what it’s like… you get all excited about a big idea, but then when it comes to implement, it starts to feel overwhelming, and scary, and too big to take on. It’d be easier to just stay put and go on living as you are… your current life isn’t really that bad…

But we all know that’s bullshit. We all know that the longer you put it off, the harder and harder it will become, but the more and more you will want it.

No point in delaying the inevitable right?

 

The ONE thing you can be doing right now to get started with next big adventure is to start talking about it.

 

Make it real. Tell everyone you know. Get excited.

Talking about what you want does two things:

1. It actually makes it feel real, and all of a sudden you find yourself starting to get excited about it (duh), and also starting to plan it. Little details pop into mind. The HOW starts to unfold and reveal itself. The world starts to point you in the direction you want to go.

2. It holds you accountable. There’s nothing like telling all your Facebook friends about this big life-switch you’re making to hold you to it. People will want to support and congratulate you, and you’ll have everyone you know backing you up.

I know it feels hard and scary and SO far away. But I PROMISE you, when you start talking about what you want, just that one simple step makes it so much more real.

I challenge you to go out this week and tell 10 people about the big thing you want to do. And I’d love to hear in the comments below what comes up for you when you think about telling people about it. Fear? Excitement? Uncertainty? Spill it in the comments below.

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The number of emails I get from people asking me if I can help them figure out what they should be doing with their lives, is striking. We are living in a time where “follow your passions” gets so thrown around all over the place, and we’re left feeling stressed, confused, and like something is wrong with us if we can’t find ours.

“If all the gurus out there are telling me to follow my passions, and I don’t even know what my passion IS, man, I’m screwed”

A part of me loathes that advice. And another part of me is all for it.

I think there is validity to encouraging people to do what they really want to be doing in life, and I also think it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on people to “figure it out”. There’s also a misconception that we should all be doing work that is in line with our passions, and that we must first find those passions, and then create or find work that is directly in line with them. THAT is a theory I don’t necessarily buy into.

If you’re the kind of person who values doing work you love, and is trying really hard to figure out exactly what that looks like, my guess is that you’re going about it all wrong.

It’s not an intellectual thing. You can’t just sit there and try to think about what your passions are, and what you should be doing with your life. You can intellectualize it all you want – you can sit for days taking notes, scribbling out all your wild ideas, writing pros and cons lists.

But you won’t have accomplished ANYTHING until you actually start DOING something.

 

Finding your ‘passion’ is not intellectual. It’s experiential.

 

(click here to tweet that!)

You may *think* that living on a farm raising llamas would be your dream job, but until you actually get out there and test the waters, you have no way of knowing.

Likewise, looking at all your life’s experiences and smooshing them all together to figure out what your ideal job would be might sound like an awesome idea, but you’ll never really know if it works or not until you TEST IT OUT.

So get out and play. Try new things. Have adventures. Learn about what you love and what you don’t.

And go deep with it. For example, if you think you love teaching – what is it about teaching? Is it being up in front of a room? Is it working in a group? Is it being in charge?

Take it slow and learn through experience.

When you stop worrying so much about figuring it out, it all becomes a whole lot easier (and more fun).

Are you someone who gets stuck in your head trying to “figure it out”? Would love to hear in the comments what your approach is to “following your passions.”

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I hear it all the time.

“I dont know”.

“It’s not clear”.

“I’m confused”.

And I totally get it. The feeling of not knowing which choice is the “right” choice. Which path to follow. Which decision to make.

 

The worst part is not knowing. Being in limbo.

 

So we have all kinds of structures for trying it figure it out.

You ask our friends for advice (then don’t listen to them).

You write a pros and cons list (then totally disregard it).

You agonize over it for days, weeks… years? without being able to make a decision.

So here it is. The ONE question you need to ask yourself to decide if you are on the right track. AND (and this is key), how to answer this question so that you actually come to an answer.

 

The Question:

“What do I really want?”

 

Yes. I know you have already asked yourself this question. I know that this is the very question that you are so busy getting your panties in a knot about. And this is the ONLY question you need to ask yourself. You just have to know how to answer it.

 

The Answer:

Get into a quiet space. Make sure you are totally alone. Take some time to clear your head. Take a few deep breaths. And ask yourself the question.

“What do I really want?”

And then, without hesitation, blurt out your answer. Say the thing that you have been afraid to say. The thing that you haven’t (yet) admitted to anyone. Or even to yourself.

Say the thing that you really want, and put all the other excuses, worries, doubts, and fears out of the way, for just this moment. Let all the hows, the shoulds, and the confusion go, and trust yourself enough to know that you KNOW.

 

That’s it. Simple. Easy. Takes two seconds. Don’t need anyone else’s input.

 

 

Isn’t it ironic then that the easiest thing to do, is probably the hardest.

 

It’s so much easier to just have someone else tell you what to do.

It is infinitely harder to learn to trust your own gut instincts.

Learn to do this, and you will never be confused about your life again.

 

xx becca

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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Ahhh, the epic mystery that everyone wants to solve. Attempted to be answered in a few blog posts.

Last time we talked (or more like, I ranted), about how we can’t take “Do what you love” type of advice so literally. It’s more about creating a lifestyle for yourself that lets you have the time to do all the random things you love.

AND.

That doesn’t mean that your work has to be soul-sucking, life-draining menial bullshit. You CAN still do little bits and pieces of what you love, if you can figure out WHY you love them.

By figuring out what it is that you love about all the things you love, you can cut and paste your strengths and passions together into a nice little all-encompassing package (and if that package looks something like running your own business, click here for a free training that will help you figure out what business to start). And then you can giftwrap it with a neat little bow and send it to your boss, with a note attached that says “I quit”.

 

Figure out WHY you love what you love, and then use that to fuel your career path.

 

So you have a passion for LOLcats, yeah? If what you love is that they are hilarious, then you have a quirky sense of humor – so do work that lets you bring THAT to it.

If you love dancing, what is it about dancing? Maybe it’s that it gives you the freedom to move your body. So plan to do work that lets you move around (instead of be chained to a desk for 8 hours a day).

Perhaps you love nutrition and health. There’s a chance that what you really love about it is that eating is a way that gives people a choice about how they want to live, and that’s where your passions are – in empowering people to choose their lives.

 

What we’re going for here is a combination of Lifestyle (see Part 1), Strengths + Passions (continue reading), and ??? (Like I’m gonna give it all away in one fell swoop. Stay tuned next week for the last piece of the puzzle).

 

Strengths + Passions = the backbone of figuring out what the fuck to do with your life.

 

Ok, so I know I said what you love doesn’t matter in the way you think it does. But it DOES still matter.

A few questions to help you gain mo’ clarity about what you love. Because some people don’t even KNOW what they love. Isn’t that sad? No shame there – I was one of ’em. Get out your lil’ moleskin (you do have a lil’ journal to keep track of all your random moments of brilliance, don’t you?) and answer these questions NOW.

 

What are you dying to know about everyone you meet?

What’s one lesson you’ve already learned — through lived experience, research, travel, training, or some combination thereof — that would conceivably be worth $1,000 — in saved time, money, energy & misery — to somebody else?*

What’s your guilty pleasure? 

What do you love to do in your spare time that really makes you feel alive?

What would someone reasonably pay you $100/hour to do or talk about?

What comes easily to you?

What strengths are people often complimenting you on?

 

All done? High fives.

Now go through and pick apart WHY you like what you like. Go deep and break it down til you get to the core, the big W.huzzah.Y behind all of it.

That’s what you will help you figure out what the fuck to do with your life.

Whatever you do, from now on, make sure that it’s shit you actually get energy from. Life’s too short to have  the soul sucked out of you by something that you have the power to change, something like your job.

Til next time my little crusader. Muah.

 

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PS. If you KNOW you want to have your own business, but you aren’t sure WHAT business to start, I have a free training that will help you get clear on the perfect business that fits your passions, lifestyle, and strengths. Click here to get it!

*This brilliant question courtesy of Alex Franzen.

 

I remember a time, not so long ago, when I had no idea what the fuck I wanted to do with my life. So I did some stuff, yadda yadda yadda, and I finally figured it out.

Congratulations to me! 

But seriously. It comes as no surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked (after “What’s that smell coming off you?”), is

 

“What the fuck should I do with my life?”

 

And my answer is always “Yesterday’s onions”.

And then, “Hire a goddamn coach”. And even though I don’t do this type of coaching anymore (I now only work with people who have a fairly good sense of what they want to do, and that is starting a business as a coach or consultant or freelancer), I still think it’s work a chat with a life coach if you’re stuck in the WHAT DO I DO phase.

But not everyone can afford to hire a goddamn coach, right? Or they’re not ready. Or they have other priorities. Or they’re scared they’ll start to smell like yesterday’s onions.

I happen to love curry, ok? Give it a rest.

 

Anyway.

 

You want someone to tell you how to figure your shit out, yeah?

Well – I’ll tell ya. Just hang tight.

First, let’s think about this situation, one you’ve likely been in before.

You ask the universe what you should do with your life. And some holier-than-thou-self-help addict sits you down and gives a sage piece of advice. They tell you, “You must do what you love.”

You think this is some pretty smart shit, so you start to think about what you love.

 

You love dancing! I guess you could be a famous dancer! Or teach dance lessons? Or become a stripper, cuz that’s kinda like dancing, right? Ummm…

 

Or do you love travelling!? You can get paid to travel! Maybe work for the travel channel on TV, going around reviewing all the fancy hotels all over the world! You will be a  professional traveller! Yes! Amazing! Except that this professional traveller thing – it’s not really a thing. You sorta need to have some other skill to offer, but your writing sucks and your face just wasn’t made for tv (don’t worry – I’m sure you have a nice personality). So what now?

 

Or lemme guess – you love Facebook? You could work for Facebook! Or marry Mark Zuckerberg. But only if he looks like Justin Timberlake in that movie, because you don’t find the real Zuckerberg attractive (except for that one sexy dream you had about him… but you’re pretty sure that was more about the money than his looks). And oh god – now that you’ve admitted that he’ll surely never hire you to work for Facebook. Ugh – what now?

 

Do you see this cycle we put ourselves into? “Do what you love” is usually taken quite literally, and we get all screwed up thinking about literal ways to create jobs centered around LOLcats and napping in the park.

This whole DO WHAT YOU LOVE stuff. It’s not being used the right way.

So you wanna know how to figure it all out? Listen up.

 

What if you worked in a job that let you have a lifestyle that you loved? A lifestyle that allowed you to have time for all these passions of yours, without actually having to make your passions your work?

What if THAT’S the secret behind figuring out what to do with your life?

 

 

Like, whoa. 

Actually  I lied about telling you I’d help you figure it all out. Gawd – you think I can tell you the secrets to life in one post? You must really think I’m a genius.

I think I’ll let ya chew on that one for a while, and we’ll get to the rest soon enough, my anxious little crusaders.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

And now – to make some curry…

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PS. If you’re SURE that what you want to do with your life is run your own business that gives you the freedom and lifestyle to actually LIVE life the way you want, check out my free training to help you figure out what business you should start.

 

You know how people are always saying that you that you have to find balance in your life? That living in perfect harmony will be the answer to lifelong fulfillment and happiness?

Oh come on. What a load of crap.

Let me tell you – if I had spent the last year plugging away at my business and still living a life of balance,  I’d have built an extremely inauthentic, generic, run-of-the-mill nutritionist website where I was trying to be just like ever other nutritionist on the block. I didn’t know what set me apart, so I tried to be like everyone else.  I’d actually started creating that business, but only half-assed it and eventually stopped altogether (thank goodness). Amen to all the wonderful nutritionists out there who are rocking their businesses, but that is not me, and it would not have served you, the reader,  if I had taken the nice balanced road.

Instead, what I did was went to extremes. I took an entire year off from working, (save for some really part time side projects), and conducted a bit of an experiment whereby I lived for the sake of living. I travelled to Dominican and camped on the beach and went rock climbing (twice in 4 months), I spent time playing up in Northern Ontario, I drove across Canada, I spent a month in BC camping and climbing, I played in parks in Toronto with friends and napped and read books and ate foods. I did zero nutrition related work. I did zero for my website. I did zero, nothing, zilch to further my career in any specific direction.

And I had a WICKED year. And it gave me the space to get out of my head and understand what it was I really wanted to do.

What I REALLY wanted.

And then, when I was ready, I dove headfirst into it and started my coaching business.  I have been working my ass off since, putting other life stuff on the back-burner in favor of getting my site out there, creating content, and coaching new clients.

Trying to stay in balance means always keeping an equal focus on every area of your life – your work, your family, your social life, your health. Sounds like a good idea in theory. But when trying to balance all things, nothing gets done.

Everything stays at a nice comfy homeostasis, but nothing. gets. done.

When you’re in this nice comfy balanced zone, there’s no immediate need to put overtime into any one project or area of your life (this fact is built right into the model – keep all areas equal). When you’re dividing your energy equally between all these things, the output is at about 20% each.

It’s impossible to give 100% of what you have, all the time, to every area of your life.

Hello, burnout.

We all know that it’s not til you really hit rock bottom, or shit hits the fan, or the discomfort of being too comfortable sets in, that change really happens. It’s not til you feel so MOVED to put your energy into a certain area that you actually get any forward momentum.

Start thinking of life in cycles, and know that once the work cycle winds down, you will have more time to devote to the family cycle, and when your health starts to need more of your attention, you will send your time focused on that cycle. Etc etc etc.

Think of your energy as finite rather than infinite, and consciously choose where you are going to focus it at any given time.

Stop half-assing your attempts. If you want some time to relax, relax FULLY. And if you say you’re determined to build your biz – then by golly, pour your heart into that baby.

Because every area in your life  deserves 100% of your love at some point of another, and you simply can’t give it all, all the time.

Stop short-changing yourself, and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the person who stays in balance.

xx becca

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is your life balanced? Have you tried to devote 100% energy to every area of your life, all at once? How do you see this idea of cycles presenting themselves in your own life?

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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