Red, hot convertible or roomy SUV?

Red, hot convertible or roomy SUV?

Take a trip to a city and what would your vehicle of choice be?

I would love to hire a red hot, convertible; roof down on a sunny October day and seat warmers turned up to max so I wouldn’t have to wear a coat. But a car like that is wasted in the congested streets of a city, so perhaps the best choice would be the public buses or trams.

What if it were a fly-and-drive holiday to explore the West Coast of America; what car would you want to drive then?

Again, a red hot convertible would be fun but, after a day or so, I’d may wish I’d gone with a roomy SUV, kitted out with central armrests, air conditioning, cruise control and coffee cup holders.

Whichever you choose, both the red, hot convertible and the roomy SUV would be get us from San Francisco to Santa Monica but both would give us completely different experiences.

And so it is for your business, too.

Your business is simply a vehicle to take you on your own personal and professional journey. And you have a choice over the way that you set up and run your business to ensure that journey inspires and fuels you, rather than burns you out.

Not many people really think about their business in this way.

Much of the focus is often on “What do I sell?”, “How do I sell it?” and “Who do I sell it to?” Every week, attention is given to lead generation and marketing and sales.

And yet, questions such as “How many people do I really want to serve?”, “What do I stand for?” and “What kind of work fuels me?” are rarely asked when making your marketing decisions.

Questions such as these are important because their answers will show you which vehicle will give you a way of working that allow you to create a purposeful, playful and profitable business.

Your business model is your vehicle and when you know which business model will allow you to feel inspired and aligned to your vision, it becomes far easier to work out what business and marketing focus is needed.

There are 5 core business models that most service and expert led businesses find profitable to work in. And yet not all 5 business models work for all service and expert led business owners.

You may have decided to embark on a digital marketing journey; creating online products and marketing funnels via your website. I see this similar to choosing the red hot convertible for your fly-and-drive holiday. It’s fun for the first few days but unless you really enjoy the Thelma and Louise style adventure, it can turn out to be a disaster. Digital businesses need a lot of screen time to set up and get going. It needs you to be an engineer, a process builder and mechanic. It needs you to focused on numbers and cashflow.

That red, hot convertible isn’t so exciting to drive when you realise your flow really happens in front of clients and daily in-person human contact.

This is not to say that digital business models don’t work. Far from it. Many thousands of business owners have seen huge success from working “under the hood”. But there are many millions more who have failed at exactly the same business model, following identical success formulas.

Your personality is unique to you. Your values, your wealth goals, the time you want to give to your business, your vitality and flow are all unique to you.

This is why different business models suit different people.

And if you’re finding business hard work right now or you’ve hit a ceiling on your growth, it may be that your business model is not the right vehicle for you right now. Perhaps it’s time to change vehicles.

Over the past 14 years, I’ve had several different business models. Some worked really well for a specific length of time and others haven’t. But one thing that I’ve come to realise is that when you are clearer on which vehicle will work best for your vision and your way of working, the decisions on where to take your marketing and growth plans become far, far simpler and easier to make.

If you’d like to find out more about these different business models to discover what could be the better vehicle for you to drive, then join me on my next event happening in London. Click here for more information.

And let me know whether you’re a red, hot convertible or more of a SUV girl like me, who would keep her red, hot convertible for special days once in a while 🙂

When fatigue and burnout is hurting your business

When fatigue and burnout is hurting your business

Our start-up culture here in the UK and the US celebrates hustle-and-grind and hard work, and yet sells us the passive income dream and laptop freedom lifestyle. This social pressure to achieve, crush it and chase the 6 or 7 figure business formulas, has resulted in many of us experiencing entrepreneurial burnout.

The hustle-and-grind culture of internet marketing is proving not to work for the majority of people, particularly for those of you who are not designed to be stuck in front of screens all day or work in isolation from home offices.

Fatigue illnesses, stress and hormone imbalances have become serious problems for many business owners, particularly those of us in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond, and it’s caused many of us to pull back and play small to protect ourselves.

When we feel exhausted, we can talk ourselves out of plans we feel we don’t have the capacity, confidence or courage to take action on.

But this fear of not having enough energy is costing us and the economy dearly.

I’ve experienced this myself over the years so I know only too well how frustrating and costly this exhaustion can be.

When we take full responsibility for our health and energy and create the right conditions to fuel our vitality, we can grow profitable, sustainable and potentially scalable businesses and our visions for the future won’t get sidetracked or forgotten.

We have to understand and know how to work with, rather than against, our own cycles and flow, and the cycles and flow of our business, the economy and the planet we live on.

I’ve been prompted to write about this today because of a recent setback in my health journey. Fortunately, this time around, I feel I’ve caught my energy spiral quickly and it’s only taken 2 weeks to feel back on track.

My fatigue illness began about 10 years ago. I was in full Superwoman mode; mother to two young children and running a successful term-time coaching business. Then my Dad got sick. After 18 months of pure hell and going through three rounds of seriously intensive chemo, he died of Lymphoma in the summer of 2010. My parents lived in Devon at the time. Me in Surrey. So I spent the best part of two years driving up and down the A303, sometimes back and forth in one day. It was no surprise that my shoulders seem stuck to my ears from all the driving and I consequently had chronic neck pain.

My life seemed to take on a black comedy theme as if that wasn’t enough to deal with, I had been convinced to take on a 9 month rescue dog because the family wanted a pet. The autumn of that same year of my Dad dying, he got run over by a truck on the A3. £6,500 worth of vet bills and reconstructive leg surgery later I was left looking after a lame dog, whilst dealing with our family grief.

I tried counselling but one session was enough for me to decide I didn’t have time to let all this grief out so I zipped it all in and in January 2011, I went headlong back into making my business work again.

I re-designed my business to get away from the constant launching of digital programmes and closed down my membership site product. I knew I didn’t have the capacity or the inclination to spend my time learning and keeping up with the latest digital tactics that I was teach in my Web Tech Club membership site and I missed direct contact with clients, being involved with their decision making and simplifying their marketing systems.

My business moved into a 1-2-Many model and I launched my first group coaching programme in June 2011, The GID Marketing School, which still runs successfully today.

All the changes I was making to my business was working on paper. I was certainly doing less, having far more fun and making more money than before.

The problem was that I was still in Superwoman; that same driving force I had back in my 30’s was being used in my 40’s. And let’s not forget the trauma of losing my Dad I had buried deep inside of me.

The summer of 2012 I hit the proverbial wall. I simply couldn’t get out of bed one weekend. I realised that this tiredness I was feeling wasn’t going to be fixed by a few early nights. I would like to be able to give you a happy ending now. But unfortunately, my exhaustion confused and depressed me. There was endless information out there which overwhelmed me. My GP told me I was fine and that all women my age go through this kind of symptoms and as my blood tests all came back normal she simply suggested I take some iron tablets.

I conveniently blamed my physical state on peri-menopause which gave me permission to believe that all women went through this so just get through it and by the time I’m 52, all will be well.

Ha!

My saving grace came from finding a community called One of Many and it was through learning about how to change the energy I was using in my life and my business that literally saved my life and helped feel alive again.

What I’ve come to deeply understand now is that you can look to others for inspiration on what makes a business work, have the best product funnel set up and following the latest surefire, tried-and-tested marketing system … if you don’t take full responsibility for your health and energy and create the right conditions to fuel your vitality whilst you go about growing your business, you’re in danger of boom-and-bust and crashing your body.

That’s entrepreneurial burnout. And it’s rife right now. Because of the stories my clients have shared with me over the past few years, I know my story here today is not unique.

But it’s not doom and gloom.

The reason I want to share my story is to inspire you that there is life, vitality and the full force of creativity on the other side. Once my fatigue was under control my business has blossomed once again and through my teachings around True Profit, I feel I am doing my best work yet.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I’m still experiencing setbacks. My recent fatigue was caused by a wonderful family holiday where I simply consumed too much pizza, croissants and rose wine for 10 days – reality check when I got back home and my hormones kicked off kilter again. But a couple of sessions with an acupuncturist, twice daily Clary Sage and him putting me on a very mean and horrible 😉 30-day wheat and dairy free diet, and I’m beginning to feel “normal” again.  

My post-holiday slump was simply a reminder that I need to keep looking after myself, watch how I’m fuelling my body and find the time to create space for replenishment so I have the energy to forge forward when I need to.

So what to do if you feel you are on the track to burnout?

Perhaps you’ve hit the wall like me back in 2012 and you’re staring at this screen frustrated that your brain fog is so thick you can’t think straight.

Perhaps you’ve not hit that wall yet but you recognise the tiredness is affecting how you think about your business and you’re perhaps pulling yourself back on plans you previously had.

Here are a few suggestions to start taking some control back over your energy.

 

1. Recognise you have a health problem

The sooner you stop kidding yourself that everyone else is tired and this is just the way of the world, the sooner you can start helping yourself recover. Start with your GP. Now I know from experience, that the NHS just isn’t equipped to understand and investigate fatigue illnesses so it can take months, if not years to be diagnosed with illnesses such as ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

And you may have to go private if you can afford to pay the fees. I’ve found that hormone testing is best done privately because you’ll simply get better results. If you’re interested in speaking to someone, then I can recommend Nicki Williams from www.happyhormonesforlife.com

But don’t get ahead of yourself and make this a bigger problem than it needs to be. One visit to the GP and a blood test later and you may find you have a real simple medical treatment to follow. The reality is that there’s every chance you’ll have to be making some serious lifestyle changes – what you eat, drink and how you exercise and move – but start somewhere and your GP will hopefully be the place for that. 

2. Ask for help and explore your options

I know from experience that fatigue causes confusion, brain fog and decreases your ability to make decisions so you need to ask for help. I battled with this for years. Thought I could fix it all by myself with good old Google and a few books on menopause. But it wasn’t until I started getting recommendations for health practitioners such as kinesiologists and acupuncturists that I started to realise that my fatigue had a shed load of trauma and grief blocked behind it. It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure, but shifting this blocked energy helped me tremendously.

For someone who has always thought quite logically and pragmatically about stuff, I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that my ten-year shoulder pain simply disappeared after working with a Chinese doctor who unlocked my liver meridian.  

But I digress.

Explore your options, try out treatments recommended to you and you may surprise yourself with what works for you.

3. Know that energy flows and needs replenishing

I’ve learnt that we have many energy states that we have access to help us thrive and rise to our full potential. And to help my clients experience these energy states, I teach three different energies to use when they are growing a business.

Lean In. Lean Back. Ground.

They work like a pendulum swing and help you keep going forward with your business growth plans, but without the drive and push energy that can burn us out. When you know what energy to use for visioning, planning and implementing, for example, you’re able to make better decisions and focus on what’s important to you and what you want to create.

If feeling energy flow is new to you, then I recommend you first start tracking your energy cycles and flow that happen throughout the day, week and month. It can be hard to do if you are particularly fatigued so it may be that you need to action steps 1 and 2 first before you try this.

But what you will find is that some tasks you do in your business light you up and some suck you down. At some points of the day you feel alive and at other times you may just want to crawl back under your duvet. For women, your monthly cycles have a direct impact on our energy so if you haven’t done so already, starting tracking these immediately.

4. Is your business model right?

Most of what I teach now is something I call True Profit; a process that shows you how to create the foundations for sustainable growth and scalable opportunities that will help you thrive and step into your full potential, rather than burn you out.

As the pace of our living gets faster and social media feeds us a stylised version of what business success looks like, we seem to be obsessed by how to get more done in less time. And when we’re not sure exactly what needs to be done, rather than look to our vision and business strategy for answers, we buy into the next “should-be” marketing tactic, funnel or success formula that promises us results but simply distracts us by never-ending to-do lists.

It’s easy to see how a lot of people get trapped by building the wrong business model and end up selling and delivering the wrong products and programmes that only drain them of their energy.

It’s why one person’s success formula won’t necessarily work for another.

The more time we spend understanding ourselves and how we work, the easier it becomes to build a business that fuels us. Personality profiling tools such as Talent Dynamics are a really quick and easy way of starting this process. Think of it like packing for a holiday; if you were going on a beach holiday, you wouldn’t be taking your ski jackets with you. It’s the same for your business. If being in front of screens all day drains you, is a digital business really right for you … even though you’ve been told by many experts that passive income is the way to go?

Build a business model that’s right for your being, your values, how your energy flows and the money you need to make the choices of how you spend your time.

There’s a really simple tool called The True Profit Pie that will help you see within a few minutes where your business may be out kilter. It will be available for you real soon.

I hope by sharing some of my story with you today has woken some of you up and made you realise that being knackered is not OK … not for your health and not for your business.

If you know me personally, I’m certainly not some bean-eating, juicing goddess who gets up every morning and starts her day with yoga and meditation. I’ve tried but it’s simply not me LOL If that’s your thing, great but you may be pleased to know you don’t need to be all zen in order to create zen in your life.

What I do know is that without vitality, the vision we have for our business just doesn’t happen.

And this is what I want to help you stop happening.

Because when you are exhausted, you pull yourself back; you will talk yourself out of plans you feel you don’t have the capacity, confidence or courage to take action on.

And this fear of not having enough energy is costing you dearly.

If you’ve realised you feel like you’re on a conveyor belt and that you may be pulling yourself back from making changes to uplevel your business because you’re simply too darn tired, then reach out to me and we’ll arrange a call.

I find it interesting that so many of our glass ceilings and bottlenecks in our business are caused by us and if this is the case with you, they can often be fixed quite easily.

List building and how to stop falling into Alice’s rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List building and how to stop falling into Alice’s rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List Building; a topic that I know you realise is important for your marketing but often a topic that is overcomplicated and focused on tactics, rather than strategy.

So today, I want to give you 3 key questions to answer which will help you find answers to your tactical questions such as what email marketing system do I need or what should I put in a lead magnet?

List building and how to stop falling into Alice's rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List building. A topic that I know you realise is important for your marketing but often a topic that is overcomplicated and focused around tactics, rather than strategy. Here are 3 questions to answer which will help you decide on your tactics, such as where you go list build, what lead magnet will work and what to send people once they are on your list.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

 

In this world of funnels and plethora of digital tools, it easy to find yourself falling into Alice’s rabbit hole. But for most businesses like yours, it really doesn’t need to be that overwhelming.

Marketing – any marketing activity whether that’s list building or content creation or running seminars or events – needs to follow three stages: Diagnosis, Strategy and then Tactics.

To enable you to know what you should be doing to list build, you have to be clear on what your list building strategy is going to be.

And I promise you, it can be very simple.

Answer these 3 questions to help you decide what’s going on for you and then this will show you how you need to go about building a list of interested prospects for your business.

Question One: Why are you list building?

The obvious answers maybe because you’ve been told that you have to and that a marketing list is an asset for your business. Without a list, it’s like standing on a street corner, handing out business cards and hoping someone stops and talks to you.

But think a little more deeply about this question because what you sell and the way that you sell it will dictate what you actually need to do tactically to list build.

Most businesses fit into one of three camps.

1. Sell by clicks. You have digital or physical products that require someone to go to a web page and click a link to enable them to purchase what you have to sell. For the sort of the clients I work with, these sales may include an online course or membership site – they are running a digital e-commerce business and thus rely on lots of people visiting a web page in order to convert a percentage to become customers.

2. Sell by conversation. You are a service provider and the way your customers buy from you involves some kind of human interaction, Whether that involves a formal pitch or presentation or a face to face meeting or over the phone consultation, for someone to buy from you, they need to have dealt with you (or someone on your sales team) in person. So although you still need enquiries and prospects to make your sales, it’s about quality rather than quantity.

3. Hybrid of the two. Some of you will be selling lower-priced digital products but the core of your profits come from selling higher priced service-based programmes or consultancy. So you are using your selling by clicks process as a way of qualifying your leads. We would call these products Prospect Products because although you are creating an income, they aren’t your core revenue source.

So understand what you are selling and how you are selling it and how this relates to what your list building objectives are.

Because if you are selling by conversation – which a lot of you who read my articles and watch my vlogs are – it’s not about using tactics to get thousands upon thousands of email subscribers.

You can ignore a lot of the shiny shiny online marketing tools, such as FB Messenger Bots and Instagram ads and focus your list building around tactics on showcasing your expertise such as speaking or writing a book.

Question Two: Who do you want on your list?

Profiling your ideal customer is marketing 101.

Very few small business owners spend any time on this and yet it’s critical to all marketing that you do.

If you know who you want, you’ll know exactly where to list build. Just because there is a tonne of list building experts that seem to tell you Facebook is the go-to place to build list, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for YOU.

Know who you want to attract and then work out what media they read, where they hang out and who they talk to. That’s where you want to list build. Not from a knee-jerk Facebook ad campaign.

Question Three: Why does someone want to be on your list?

Just because list building is important to you, doesn’t mean that your potential customer sees it the same way. The more you know about your ideal customer, the more evidence and clues you are going to get about what it is exactly they want from you.

What topics do they really want to know about? What format do they want that in? How often do they want to hear from you?

By spending time on answering these three questions, you are going to get really clear on exactly what tactics are important to you and your business.

Don’t just follow the next list building expert’s advice about what to do. There are a tonne of courses and free resources out there but most of what’s being talked about in the world of small business marketing are the digital marketing strategies which focus on tactics for a sell-by-click business rather than a sell-by-conversation business.

These tactics aren’t ever as easy as the gurus make out it to be because let’s be honest here … there’s no such thing as a magic bullet nor is there a guarantee that you’ll the promised results from following the guru’s formula or cookie-cutter system if you aren’t selling the same priced product to the same marketplace as the guru.

Many of the digital marketing tactics are of course completely possible but you have to ask yourself, is the latest digital list building tactic really the right thing to be spending your money, time and energy on if they aren’t solving the list building problem of YOUR business?

Answer these three questions I’ve outlined in this post and focus on your strategy first, before tactics.

Until next time – Do Less, be more and play that bigger game.

The Yes Paradox

The Yes Paradox

Let’s talk about the words YES and NO. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities?

Or does it lead you to the world of insanity?

YES and NO. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet say YES more often than you’ve got time for, and this can break your entrepreneurial success.

The Yes Paradox. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities? Or does it lead to the world of insanity? Yes and No. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet saying one of the words more than the other, can make or break your long term entrepreneurial success. Let me know what you think about saying YES in the comments below. Are you a YES or a NO person? And why?

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 7 March 2018

 

When you first start out, your world is your oyster. The adventure is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. You may or not have a clear vision at the beginning but one thing you have for sure is time.

With no clients or customers, you have plenty of time to work ON your business. And this is where saying YES can be incredibly powerful.

Saying YES opens up yourself to opportunities. Allows you to explore new avenues of potential. Gives you the chance to try out different things which can feed your creativity and clarity.

But there comes a certain point that the YES get too much.

As you say YES to another thing. And then another thing, your time gets eaten up.

Until your time is at rock bottom and you’ve reached the place of INSANITY.

1) You’re stressed because you’ve taken on too much. And I don’t care what you read about multi-tasking, it simply doesn’t work. Modern society has tricked us into thinking that we can do lots of things at the same time; particularly women.

But the truth is PRIORITIES was never meant to be a plural. It’s an oxymoron that we have PRIORITIES. Only one thing can have our conscious attention at the time.

2) This leads to resentment. As you stretch yourself further and further, it’s easier to blame other people and other projects who suck up your time. All it takes is one thing not to go right and it puts your schedule out on everything else for days or weeks.

3) You then proudly wear The Busy Badge of Honour. If someone asks us how we are, how often do we proudly answer, “Oh, I’m busy. So busy.” And the other person answers, “That’s great. So am I.” which simply confirms to us that being busy is the right thing to be.

But it’s simply not.

This place of insanity keeps you sucked in under to-do lists and deadlines created by other people. You react. You juggle. You try to work harder. But you just never get where you want to go.

Knowing when to start saying NO is critical to your long-term success. If you have a vision and a plan to play a bigger game, NO has to be the answer to the majority of questions asked of you.

Because by saying NO, it allows the right YES to be said at the right time.

So I hope this helps you reflect on what you’re saying YES to right now and what you’re saying NO to right now.

Until next time.

Do Less. Be More. Play that bigger game.

When bootstrapping hurts your business

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you’re selling?

Marketing costs. There’s no denying it.

Hard cash, your time, resources – whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business.

So I get that the popular questions I get asked about marketing are versions of “what the cheapest, quickest or easiest way to get my next clients?”

Bootstrapping mindset.

Sometimes critical. But often a dangerous place to stay for any length of time.

In today’s vlog, I’ll give you an example and share the three key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business. How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is that you’re selling? Watch my vlog below and I’ll share the 3 key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 21 February 2018

 

If you’re bootstrapping, email may be your first choice of communication over and above direct mail. A letter in the post is always going to be far more expensive to produce, print and deliver than a single email.

Email is going to be the cheapest, quickest and probably the easiest way to market your new service, programme or workshop.

But is the most effective? And does it reflect the value of what it is you are selling?

Let’s say you’re wanting to invite HR Directors and Managers along to a seminar you’re running. Will they get to see that email you send them? Probably not. And if they do, what’s their response going to be? Click, delete?

If on the other hand, they received a letter in the post. A well put together invitation with a booking form. Would they see this? Probably, yes. But if they’re busy or it comes in the post along with a dozen other brochures and sales letters, your message may get lost.

And if they do see it and read it, what reaction do you think they’ll have? Maybe interested, but would it be compelling enough for them to respond?

Let’s take your marketing up a notch. What if you sent a big package in the post? And you sent it overnight by courier and it needed a signature on delivery? A box containing a beautifully crafted brochure, the same invitation to attend that seminar and possibly a treat such chocolate. Obviously far more expensive and thought needed to send, but will they see your message? I’d say almost definitely. And if they did, what’s their response going to be?

Obviously, you can’t guarantee that the person receiving that package in the post is going to be your next client but you can guarantee that you’ll get seen and that they will have an opinion about the level of service you offer.

As a marketer of your business, you are responsible for answering these 3 questions:

  1. What’s the message your prospects want to hear from you?
  2. How do you get your message noticed by the right people?
  3. How do you get the right people to respond and take action on your message?

Bootstrapping puts blinkers on you when you try to answer these questions. So even if you aren’t trying to be cheap, but you’re trying to be quick and easy … you’ll not be going to do the right thinking around answering these questions.

As noise levels are at an all-time high now for most of your prospects, you simply can’t afford to do cheap, quick and easy anymore. You’ll lose out.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend bucket loads of cash to make your marketing work, but you do need to spend time and resources on the thinking around your marketing.

Let me know what kind of marketing campaigns you’re putting together? Are you going beyond the cheap, quick and simple email? I’d love to know,

In the meanwhile, do less be more and play bigger

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Red, hot convertible or roomy SUV?

Take a trip to a city and what would your vehicle of choice be? I would love to hire a red hot, convertible; roof down on a sunny October day and seat warmers turned up to max so I wouldn’t have to wear a coat. But a car like that is wasted in...

read more

When fatigue and burnout is hurting your business

Our start-up culture here in the UK and the US celebrates hustle-and-grind and hard work, and yet sells us the passive income dream and laptop freedom lifestyle. This social pressure to achieve, crush it and chase the 6 or 7 figure business formulas, has resulted in...

read more

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