Mar 29

When Slow is really Fast

I’ve always wanted to master the Alchemy of time. Getting things done is a daily necessity.  Productivity goals can make our day or cause us to pull out our hair in frustration when we do not reach them.  Is the answer to work faster? Actually being in a hurry often ends up setting us back or can cost us money.  Yikes, we only wanted to be productive.

Let me give you an example.  My assistant, Kirsten,  lost a lot of weight last year.  At the time she didn’t make a big deal of it by talking about her plan.  Instead, she just went quietly on her plan and soon afterwards, many of us noticed that the pounds were dropping off and she was looking more and more amazing every week. I knew she had started a particular diet and was being very consistent. I recently asked her how much she lost in total and it was 65 pounds!  She lost it slowly, by making eating choices, but more importantly, she made lifestyle choices.

In her case   1)she had a goal,   2)she researched her best diet and health maintenance regimen that she could commit to and then   3)she set herself up for success.  Now that she reached her goal her life is about maintaining and she is living the life she wanted.  She looks and feels fabulous, her marriage is in great shape and her performing career is taking off. She is scheduled to perform in Finland as the lead at an international Opera Festival.  You go girl!  She is in alignment with who she wants to be, what she wants to do and is committed to doing the work to create her personal, professional and health success.  It took her about 6 or 7 months to get there.

So, is this fast, or is it slow? We know that the extra pounds did not appear overnight and therefore it stands to reason that it might take at least as long to let it go.

How does this relate to entrepreneurs? The key here for me is in HOW she accomplished this. We all make goals as business owners but do we set ourselves up for success?  It is so easy to be tempted to take the shortcuts and attempt to squeeze more things into our days than is humanly or inhumanly possible. Doing this mostly serves to cause stress and worse, to set us up for failure.  It often backfires.

The lesson is to focus on the goal and on what we need to be, do or have in order to be set up to succeed. This may include anticipating the predictable distractions of friends who call us in the middle of a work day, the emails that do not need to be answered so quickly, looking for lost/misplaced items, dust on the shelves.  Kirsten started her weight loss plan when she knew her schedule could be managed completely with minimal distractions.

Let’s all make our list of distractor factors.  Know what they are and when we are most likely to succumb to them.  Then, come up with your planned response to them when they show up. For example, it could be as simple as, Thank you ‘distraction’, you may move on now because I am doing something more important than you“.

Try it and see if that helps and let me know.

Mar 29

How a good coach and the right coach make a difference.

When I first started out I knew very little about business and thought, “OK, I better hire a business coach.” Keep in mind that at that time there were no pioneers to mentor me. I was that pioneer.

I had a business coach who snowed me with so much data that I became overwhelmed to the point that I thought I was the problem. I did not know enough, or, I was a slow learner, and even had the thought, “maybe I am not cut out for this business.”

Good thing I did not listen to those voices or else we’d not be having this little conversation.  I wish I had known how to pace myself  (and my client work).

I have since learned that there is a time and place and pacing that is critical to setting us up for success. Getting blasted with all the data, tools, techniques, systems when I was not ready for them ended up being counter productive.

It is for this exact reason that I have shifted how I am coaching my clients and students today. My new approach lays out both the skills and business building processes to set everyone up for greater success.

It has only taken me 30 years to figure it out. But at least I did. True to my nature, I am at least steady.

I am now focused on the process itself as well as the end goal of my clients. In my coaching or training I consider the best pace that will help them to succeed longer term.

When you are working with your clients observe how much they can absorb at a time. Many lose focus after an hour to 90 minutes. For these you will want to schedule their sessions in shorter nuggets and give them ways to process the details over time and multiple sessions. This turns into an opportunity to cultivate longer term client relationships.

Mar 29

When SLOW is really FAST…

Time is precious

I’ve always wanted to master the Alchemy of time.  Getting things done is a daily necessity. Productivity goals can make our day or cause us to pull out our hair in frustration when we do not reach them. Is the answer to work faster? Actually being in a hurry often ends up setting us back or can cost us money. Yikes, we only wanted to be productive.

Let me give you an example. My assistant, Kirsten, lost a lot of weight last year. At the time she didn’t make a big deal of it by talking about her plan. Instead, she just went quietly on her plan and soon afterwards, many of us noticed that the pounds were dropping off and she was looking more and more amazing every week. I knew she had started a particular diet and was being very consistent. I recently asked her how much she lost in total and it was 65 pounds! She lost it slowly, by making eating choices, but more importantly, she made lifestyle choices.

In her case 1)she had a goal, 2)she researched her best diet and health maintenance regimen that she could commit to and then 3)she set herself up for success. Now that she reached her goal her life is about maintaining and she is living the life she wanted. She looks and feels fabulous, her marriage is in great shape and her performing career is taking off. She is scheduled to perform in Finland as the lead at an international Opera Festival. You go girl! She is in alignment with who she wants to be, what she wants to do and is committed to doing the work to create her personal, professional and health success. It took her about 6 or 7 months to get there.

So, is this fast, or is it slow? We know that the extra pounds did not appear overnight and therefore it stands to reason that it might take at least as long to let it go.

How does this relate to entrepreneurs? The key here for me is in HOW she accomplished this. We all make goals as business owners but do we set ourselves up for success? It is so easy to be tempted to take the shortcuts and attempt to squeeze more things into our days than is humanly or inhumanly possible. Doing this mostly serves to cause stress and worse, to set us up for failure. It often backfires.

The lesson is to focus on the goal and on what we need to be, do or have in order to be set up to succeed. This may include anticipating the predictable distractions of friends who call us in the middle of a work day, the emails that do not need to be answered so quickly, looking for lost/misplaced items, dust on the shelves. Kirsten started her weight loss plan when she knew her schedule could be managed completely with minimal distractions.

Let’s all make our list of distractor- factors. Know what they are and when we are most likely to succumb to them. Then, come up with your planned response to them when they show up. For example, it could be as simple as, Thank you ‘distraction’, you may move on now because I am doing something more important than you”. Try it and see if that helps and let me know.

Mar 29

When do you pass it on?

I have always been someone who wants to do it all. Mostly because I am great at “fixing” things- appliances, people conflicts, goal and project mappings, as well as the stuck places that other people get themselves into. It is a great gift and it is also a curse, because I tend to get myself into too many projects at the same time mostly because I know how.

That is one of the perennial challenges for us all, to know just when do we pass on a project or activity to someone else. We should pass it on not because we cannot do it but because we should not be doing “that thing”. This is because there is something else that will bring us a greater return on the precious time we spend.

What activities bring in the most revenue and rewards? What can someone else do that, by passing it on would free you up? For me writing and coaching is more valuable than cleaning my apartment. I know how to clean my apartment but it makes more sense to have someone else do it.

What can you pass on so that your time is freed up? Make a list of what you would otherwise be able to do with that time.  Time is money and time helps us make money.

balance of time and money

Jan 16

How a Dream Client Potentially Derailed My Business

It was going to be a great year.  I had written my goals, set my vision, written up a marketing plan, and was taking action.  Everything was going according to plan when my dream client project practically fell into my lap.  This was going to be a big project.  I saw the $$ and got really excited.  I was on my way.

I recognized immediately in the initial sales conversations that this company had a problem which training solution was right up my alley.  The project was fabulous, the client was thrilled with the results, but after 4 months of working on their corporate program, it was time to get back to what I had started at the beginning of the year.  Sounds easy?  Yes, but no.

My  serious error in judgment was that during the 4 months I worked on the “dream client” project,  I put all my labor resources into one bucket.  This meant that all the other marketing activities that had been started earlier were now interrupted.

This may not seem like a big deal but the consequence was that while my whole team was focused on delivering results to our dream client, we dropped the ball on sales and marketing.  We had lost our momentum.

If I had known then what I discovered later  is that I should have hired outside assistance for either the project or sales so that we could have kept our momentum moving forward and sales would not have suffered in the months following the project.

 

 

 

Jan 15

“Marketing Tips and Tricks – Don’t Leave Money on the Table”

Need some cash now!  Let’s face it we all do!  There are many things image consultants can do to enhance our service offerings and bring in more money.  One technique that has been highly successful for me is to offer a bonus when investing in a package -they get one free item if they buy two services.  Everyone wants something free.  Here are three examples of other bonus offerings I have used:

ONE – Offer a one-hour phone consultation or a Skype update or check-in session.  In addition to it being a bonus, the extra session serves to reinforce the content of the prior sessions, thereby deepening or even increasing its value.  After all, if the client can better apply and utilize your recommended guidelines, then the session is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

TWO – Sell two sessions with the third being Free, This has also worked for gift certificates- “Buy two. Get one free.”  However, be careful when selling your services as a gift because sometimes the giver is well intended but may not have the best way of presenting it.  Gift Certificates work  best with Color Analysis session because they are less invasive, more fun and there is a universal curiosity about out “our best colors.”   When a person receives a gift certificate for an Image Makeover there is an immediate presumption that the giver thinks there is something wrong with them.

THREE Create a digital report of a closet session by mapping out a wardrobe plan for your clients.  This is great because it helps them remember all the possibilities.  Try taking pictures of the outfits you’ve assembled and add a written list of each of the events to which your client can wear those outfits. Use your smart phone, iphone or tablet. Let them know that after this promotion, there is a fee for this additional service (digital report).

Yes, it may cost you time to organize and format the photos but remember that the purpose of “added value” is to give our clients a real incentive for something we know that they want.  It is always better to offer “an added bonus” than to call something a “sale” or “discount.”   We want to earn the trust from our clients that we are the right service provider for them.

For new clients, it gives them a tasting. For existing ones, it appears as a thank you gift.   Marketing is about positioning and perceptions. As Image Professionals we master perceptions and teach our clients how to do the same.

Happy selling and send me your top 2 promotional incentives!

 

 

Jan 15

“Getting Out of the Gate – How to Get Unstuck”

You have the basics you that you need to be a great Image Consultant.  You have the training.  You even have a certificate!  So why is your business not “taking off?”  Why do you feel stuck or like you are driving in neutral?  Or worse, driving with the breaks on? Why  are you  doubting your ability to do a great job?   If  this sounds  familiar,  you are not alone.  There is hope!  I’ve been there myself and learned how to get myself out of it.

I’ve seen so many new consultants find themselves agonizing over the fact that they do not know where to start to find new clients and they certainly aren’t sure how to “close the deal” when they do find a prospect.  When I’ve been there I’ve had to get myself back into a positive mindset.  When you can face the fact and acknowledge the obstacle that is the first step to putting you and your business into a forward motion.

Well, it doesn’t have to be difficult.  All you need to do is follow these three basic guidelines and you will find that you are getting “unstuck” and your business will start taking off.

1.   Begin with the end– Revisit why you embarked on this professional path. What attracted you to the image profession to begin with? You might have started with an end goal in mind such as helping graduates land their first job, or moms get back to work, or executives obtain a promotion.  Something propelled you to embark on this path and along the way you may have lost touch with the feeling that got you all jazzed to begin with.  Most likely if you revisit your vision you will start reconnecting to your original passions.  Don’t underestimate the power of personal passion as a propeller.

2.  Take inventory of your personal strengths, all of them. I find that consultants who are stuck have forgotten that they are  brilliant and  know so much more than their clients.  Make a list of those strengths.  If you have the Perfect Fit book, there is a section on page 25 that reminds you of the many skills and talents that you may have.  Make a list of them and post it on your mirror or closet door. We boost the ego of our clients by teaching them tools and techniques to manage their image.  Well, guess what, we need to do the same for ourselves.

3.  Be crystal clear as to why your clients are using your services (or need to). What are they seeking? A new look?  A self esteem boost?  A promotion? To celebrate?  When you recognize the challenges they may be experiencing and what the impact would be if they were to  stay the same, it becomes easier to be in touch with your value and contribution to them.

4 Surround yourself with positive people.  You would be surprised at how one negative or doubtful comment can send you into a zone of self deprecation.  When you have supportive people in your inner circle you will find yourself being validated and uplifted.  It may be time to clean house, not only of any “junk” but also of people who do not necessarily have your best interests at heart.  Especially since we are in a “giving” profession it is essential for us to build into our routines and lifestyles ways to recharge our batteries.

It is time to start moving forward and make 2013 your best year ever!  Don’t let you be your biggest obstacle.

 

Oct 10

Mindset and a Leap of Faith

I’ve always known and experienced that a strong passion for a dream or vision coupled with action creates reality. It’s a surefire recipe that almost always works. Delicious. I’ve applied it and manifested amazing clients, attracted travel projects to exciting places, and had the opportunity to coach and train image consultants, many of whom have gone on to do great things themselves.
Now that sounds so simple and what I’ve recently learned is another ingredient far more powerful to add to an already good recipe, and that is mindset. Yes, that one word did not have such impact on me until I took a leap of faith myself and put it all together. It’s not the word but the actions I took that put everything into motion. Don’t get me wrong, the passion and the action steps are mobilizing in and of themselves. If not, I would not have been successful at manifesting so many of my dreams as I have.
By changing my mindset, and I mean really letting an old one go to make room for a new one, allowed me to take a leap of faith and jump off that cliff that I had been standing on for quite some time. I resisted it but then, all of a sudden, I just decided to let go of the reason “why not” to allow energy for a new reality to be welcomed. I have to say it is the most liberating experience I have had since I parachuted from an airplane 30 years ago. All I can say is WOW! and I recommend it to everyone.

I’m just getting a handle on this and as I get more clarity as to how to better harness the power of mindset just stay tuned…

» Newer posts