Now that you’ve set the stage (in the past 3 weeks) you are ready to take this final step to results.
This one contains sage wisdom, yet most of us are not ready for it because we have not laid the foundation we did in the last few weeks.
Here is one simple productivity hack most people overlook.
Do this, and you’ll find that you have more mental capacity to deal with anything that stands in your way.
Many people have asked me:
Which email marketing service should I use to get start?
Just pick one and go.
I’ve tried aWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp. They are all good.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]I’ve tried aWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp. They’re all good.[/shareable]
Right now I’m on MailChimp and that’s only because it was free for the first 2,000 contacts in my system.
Most services have a modest monthly fee associated with them, but those fess generally won’t break the bank.
The trick is to start using any one of them.
Just get started.
Don’t get lost for the next 3 weeks analyzing the pros and cons of each service.
Have a bias for action, and not analysis.
You can always steer a moving ship later. The point is to get the ship moving in the first place.
Should I use an email template, or should I go with plain text?
Each have their merits.
Templates look good, and often re-size to fit mobile devices.
Text makes it look like you wrote the message just for the receiver of it, so it may have a more personal feel.
If you choose to use a template, I would stay away from a multi-column versions for starters.
Formatting, looks like it requires several images, etc. Short answer: they take too much work.
Please stay away from newsletters at all costs.
If you have a heavy retail presence, a newsletter could work for you. But, for authors, experts, and public speakers, it feels like the newsletter format asks you to share 3 or 4 articles at once.
[shareable]Stay away from multi-column email marketing templates if you’re an author, expert, or public speaker to keep the attention on one key idea.[/shareable]
For many readers, this is complete overkill.
If you want to share multiple ideas at once, I feel you are better off with an RSS-style email which shows excerpts of articles you’ve already published on your blog.
It is hard enough for people to focus on a one-topic email let alone a newsletter template that has 4 articles all screaming for attention.
Instead, choose a simple single-column template.
The template calls for a header image, but I don’t have one. What do I do?
Forget the header image. If you can’t fill this block in 30 seconds, it’s best to forget it. Most email templates are just suggestions. You can delete any block you don’t need.
[shareable]You don’t have to have a header image to capture your readers’ attention in email marketing.[/shareable]
In this case, if you don’t already have a ready-to-use image, then you don’t need this block.
Key Take Aways:
For authors, experts, and public speakers, here is my list of take-aways:
• Choose a clean, crisp template and include a small company logo if you have one.
• Boost your font to 16pt – 18pt font for the text in the body of your letter.
• Include one large image near the top of your article to make it stand out to the reader.
• Don’t choose a newsletter template if you are just getting started. Newsletters require a lot of work, so most small teams do not end following through with it.
[reminder]Now that you have a basic idea of how to get started, what will be the first message you share with your audience?[/reminder]
Do you feel that running your business demands your all?
Find out why defeating this monster is a high priority if you want to be self-employed over the long haul.
Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, realized that his company would need to make a dramatic change or face extinction. This often-told story about the company’s “strategic inflection point” centered around betting the business on microprocessors instead of memory.
[shareable]There are times when we as experts need to “bet the business” on particular strategies or directions.[/shareable]
It is a moment of declaring to ourselves and to the world that we will not be swayed from our chosen path.
In this article I list 7 steps you can take to find the clarity and the power that comes from betting the business.
First, let’s note two important things to know going into this:
- Focus is a powerful tool.
- Time and money are precious.
We only have so much capacity, which means we can’t chase every last opportunity.
So then, we look across the sea of opportunities that raise their hands to use each day, and we have to choose which opportunity deserves our time and precious resources so that we can focus on what’s important to our business.
1. Consider Where You are Most Gifted
Take a deep inventory here. Get out a pen and paper. Write down every activity you have done today, or in the past week.
Put a star next to every item that does not give you a ton of energy. This will likely be a long list.
Every item that has a star next to it just became the job description for work you need to delegate.
You only want items remaining where you can contribute from your area of genius. Most likely no one else on your team will be quite as gifted as you in this area.
Business coach Dan Sullivan calls this your Unique Ability.
2. Hone Your Focus
This is often the most difficult part for any entrepreneur who is trying to bet the business, but can be especially hard for creatives like us.
Chances are pretty good that your to-do list is filled with a) more than you can handle, and b) more than your organization should be handling.
You’ve simply taken on too much.
In this step you get to focus on one revenue-generating activity that you want you and your organization to do at a world-class level.
Not even 3.
3. Don’t Change Horses Mid-Stream
It is easy to want to change your focus when you see your business coach friend landing a bunch of high-dollar workshops with local companies.
Or when you see your public-speaker friend launch a successful online membership program, and adding a nice pad to her monthly recurring income.
It is natural to want to chase the gold at the end of their rainbow. Remember, this is their rainbow, not yours.
Go find your own gold.
[shareable]You can find your own gold. Here’s how.[/shareable]
4. Think Process
What steps need to happen first, second, and third to bet your business?
What can you outsource to a contractor or an employee?
Minimize to the greatest extent possible the work that you — the business owner — do. This creates more time for you to do that work, and ensures that you get more and more practice doing the things that no one else in your company can do.
5. Lean In
This is where true grit is determined — where you put your stake in the ground and say “This is my territory!”
- You bet the business.
- You fight your demons.
- You slay your dragons.
- You suffer setbacks.
- You circle the wagons.
- You live to fight another day.
6. Understand the Journey is Not the Destination
As John Eldredge has pointed out, we are often duped into confusing journey and destination. He offers the analogy that a 10-hour plane ride to Italy is nothing like being in Italy.
[shareable]The journey is not the destination.[/shareable]
The same holds true for us. Don’t get hooked on the journey. You have a goal and you want to reach it. Stay focused so that you can bet the business.
7. Experience the Sweet Smell of Victory
Even with the setbacks, bumps, and bruises that come with the fight, there is still no better feeling than reaching your goal.
Your newly dedicated resources are now focused on the task at hand, everyone driving in the same direction.
You’ve overcome setbacks you never dreamed were possible. You stayed the course.
You bet the business.
[reminder]What activities do you need to STOP DOING so that you can focus on the one activity that really matters to your long-term future?[/reminder]
Recently, I received what is quite possibly the most shocking email I’ve received in a long time.
It was from Jeff Walker and he was promising another bonus from a book he launched over a year ago.
Being a huge fan of Jeff Walker, I clicked on the link to find out what new bonus I was about to receive.
In Jeff Walker style I was taken to a landing page which included one of his sales videos explaining that he was offering a bonus he had never done before and that this bonus was only available to people who had purchased his best-selling book, Launch.
The Big Bonus
He was offering tickets to his large event session, PLF Live.
Now, what makes this so remarkable is that these tickets were usually only available to people who have purchased his Product Launch Formula program at nearly $2000.
This follows the same formula Brendon Burchard uses for his Experts Academy and Total Product Blueprint. Buy a high-ticket item program, and get a low-cost live event, usually for registration fee of around a hundred dollars.
Is it really getting that hard for Jeff Walker to fill a room, that he would open up registration to people who bought his book?
It really feels like he’s struggling to fill the room.
The Big Kicker
Now here’s the kicker: he’s not alone!
Earlier this year Brendon Burchard did something I’ve never seen him do before.
He offered an alumni discount to one of his other programs.
Usually the people who buy the Experts Academy program get to go to a large event, Experts Academy Live. On top of that, Brendan also has a different program which has to do with performance.
This program also has its own live event at its own ticket price. You buy the program for around $1000, and you get a discount ticket to go to the live event.
[shareable]Big savings on public speaking events are becoming easier and easier to come by.[/shareable]
In the past it didn’t matter if you had already purchased a ticket to Experts Academy — if you wanted to go to the High Performance Academy, you had to pay the full price — the market rate.
This year was the first time I’ve ever seen Brendon Burchard offer an alumni ticket price.
So, for those of you who were members of his Experts Academy or Total Product Blueprint courses, you could get an alumni tickets for only $297 to go to the High Performance Academy event.
Run the math on that for a minute – $997 last year but only $297 this year.
That’s a $700 savings, folks!
All of this begs the question: why in the world would Brendon Burchard discount prices so heavily? He is supposed to be the king of high-end tickets. The king of high-end programs.
Why all the sudden is the pressure here moving across the largest names in the industry so much so that they would discount tickets?
[shareable]Big name speakers are offering their programs at lower prices than ever. Click here to check out why![/shareable]
My guess is that this industry is counter-cyclical, meaning that several years ago when the economy was in the dumps there were thousands of people out looking to start their own business and there were thousands of people out there who wanted to be an instant expert or author and make millions of dollars.
Nowadays with the economy doing so well, there are more people who’ve taken jobs with employers. There are less and less people who are wanting to strike out their own route.
Even if your tickets were being sold before, if you have built a reputation on “selling out every event” you have to start to get pretty creative in an economy this robust. This means to discount the daylights out of these tickets, give them away, just get butts in seats.
[reminder]For those of you who work in the expert industry, what is your impression on why ticket prices are plummeting recently among some of the big-name experts?[/reminder]
Starting a new business or launching a new product can really wear you down. In this video you’ll learn why it’s important to take a break.
This one is a short one, so click the image above to check it out.
My readers know I find joy in sharing my ups and downs as I build my business. When I share about my struggles, it really seems to energize people who find themselves in my stories.
For those of you who don’t know my story, I’ll tell you the short version.
Years ago I was a sales manager over several new financial advisors. It is a hard industry where most new advisors don’t survive the first three years.
The single biggest observation I made during my time as a sales manager was that those who followed the company’s formula for success tended to do well — they would end up earning enough money to be successful.
So, why didn’t they all just follow the formula?
I took this very question to heart and pursued it during my doctoral dissertation.
I began to think and noticed that the same question applies to me as well. Are there areas where I am not following the formula, where I’m not doing what I need to do to be successful?
Realizing There is a Problem
We are not meant to go through life alone. We need each other.
My readers will also know that I’m a huge fan of having a well-qualified counselor help you identify and overcome performance issues. In a recent eye-opening counseling session, my counselor about knocked me out of my chair.
“Lately it seems you are doing a lot of things 90%.”
I see myself as being a hard worker — someone who puts 100% into everything I do.
I pressed into this. “Can you give me some examples?”
To my surprise, she fired off a few examples in rapid succession, not missing a beat.
[shareable]Are you doing things at 90%? Are you ready to change that?[/shareable]
I could see then that I was toast. She was right — there are things I’m only doing 90%.
I left the session with my head reeling. If she could see those three examples, where else was I holding back from my best?
Diagnosing the Problem
Now that I knew what to look for, I started putting together a list of all the projects I had attempted and failed, times when I had run out of steam.
- There is an online launch I did. I made some money, but I just didn’t know what to do with it next.
- Then there’s an invitation to give a talk for a conference. How can I give a talk here and still have it fit my brand?
In less than 10 minutes I had completely filled a page with items where I had pulled up short of my best.
[shareable]I am overcoming what is holding me back. You can too! Here’s how.[/shareable]
This leads me back to the question — the same question I found while studying the financial advisors I managed all those years ago – why wasn’t I just doing the things I know I need to do to be successful?
- Why am I not pressing into the online launch again?
- What is my hangup with the lack of fit between my brand and the conference?
Every person who finds him or herself in this situation is going to have his or her own answer to these questions.
My answer may not be your answer. In fact, it’s pretty likely that my answer is not going to be your answer.
Digging Deeper to Find the Solution
When we think through our own entrepreneur performance, we have to dig deeper than looking at whether or not we have reached our goals.
We need to look at the reason we did or did not reach them. What are the reasons behind all of it?
- You set a goal for yourself last week to call five new people.
- You wanted to attend two new networking functions this month.
- You set a goal for yourself last week to add 100 names to your email list.
Did you meet all of those goals? For most of us, probably not.
This is where the excuses come in.
- I ran out of time.
- Things came up with my child at school.
- I didn’t know what to do next with the launch.
- I’m not certain the conference fits my brand.
But, those are not the real reasons we are missing our goals.
[shareable]Your excuses aren’t the real reason you’re not meeting your goals.[/shareable]
We need to dig deeper into what lies beneath it all.
Are you afraid of failing? Well, you need to admit that and dive into it. Find out why.
Are you afraid of running out of money? I get that. It’s a very real concern — one which should be on your radar.
But, it shouldn’t paralyze you. Dig into that. Why is it paralyzing you? If you must, get someone to help you work on the issue.
This is where the true progress begins!
A New Day and a Bright Future
For me, what lies beneath my 90% behavior is disappointment. My counselor named it out loud right there in her office. It’s what has been keeping me back from that highest level of entrepreneur performance.
She began to unpack for me the ways in which my dealing with this appointment is causing me to pull up short of my goals.
This is the single biggest breakthrough I’ve had in the past decade. Now so many things make sense.
I walked around for the next two days with the highest level of lightheartedness I have felt since I was a child.
All the weight and frustration has gone!
[reminder]What lies beneath for you? What can you do this week to dig into some of your deepest questions?[/reminder]
I enjoy breaking myths — especially ones that tend to hold us back the most.
The one I want to address today is: You’re too late.
Sometimes this one also takes the forms of “You’ve missed your window” or “You’re too old.”
In this blog I feel I don’t talk about faith as much as I should. Today, however, I’m going to open that window — the window I don’t open nearly enough in my writing.
[shareable cite=”John Eldredge”]Eternal life has already started.[/shareable]
John Eldredge, author of Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority, points out to us in his writings that, for people of the Christian faith, eternal life isn’t something that starts when we die. In fact, eternal life has already started.
Let that sink in for a moment.
You will never die.
Of course, the body you now have will not make the transition to eternal life. The bonus here though is that you get a new body, one that doesn’t get sick or wear down.
What does this mean for the life that you’re living now?
This is a total test run.
If life so far has not given you the opportunity to live out your greatest hopes and desires, I have great news for you – you’re going to have plenty of time!
In fact, you’re going to have forever.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]You are Never Too Old to Start![/shareable]
- If you tried to start a business and failed
- If you tried writing a book that never got published
- If you designed a program that never caught on
- If you wanted to have kids but couldn’t
- If you wanted to buy a house but couldn’t
- If you kept getting passed over for a promotion
- If you didn’t have a good childhood
- If you felt invisible
I have great news!
- You will have the business you’ve always wanted
- You will publish the book and it will be widely read
- The program you want to design will catch on to greater effect
- You will get to feel the joy of having kids
- You will live in a house you could never possibly imagine
- You will no longer be ignored for your talents
- You will be promoted and have amazing authority
- You will feel the joy of a child who has a caring Father
- You will be widely known
Is it too late to start moving towards your dreams? Is it too late to start taking the steps you felt were long out of your reach?
Get a head start. Develop your skills.
Deal with your demons.
You’ve seen the bumper sticker “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
Does it feel too good to be true?
“Too good to be true” is exactly what you get when you’re living in the Kingdom.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Buckle your seat belt. It’s going to be a great ride![/shareable]
Several years ago, I was managing a group of brand-new entrepreneurs. They were young and energetic. Full of life and vitality.
However, only a few short months later, it was very easy to see who was going to survive and who wasn’t. This is interesting because each of these new entrepreneurs:
- Received the same training from our parent company
- Had no prior experience in the industry
- Experienced the same roadblocks and frustrations
A few members of the group were doing really well. The remaining, however, were clearly in trouble.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Are you leaning into your problem, or away from it?[/shareable]
The ones who are doing well, or simply going about their business, were setting appointments, having conversations with prospects, and writing contracts.
Most interesting to me though, was the behavior of the people who were not doing so well.
Diagnosing the Have-Nots
When I began doing my coaching sessions with this group of new entrepreneurs, my opening question was, “How’s it going?”
This simple open-ended question was really meant to see what was at the top of their minds.
Oftentimes I would hear stories such as “I had this great meeting set up with the client, but they cancelled” or “I had a very good deal on the hook, but the client never came to sign the paperwork.”
So, for a moment, let’s call this Layer One. This is the beginning of the conversation– it’s when people tell you where they are mentally.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Here’s how to overcome your entrepreneurial hurdles.[/shareable]
The danger here is that we can’t just attribute the problems of the low performers to scarcity thinking, as if thinking differently would magically solve all their problems.
After a few minutes of conversation with each entrepreneur, I started seeing themes which differentiated the achievers from the non-achievers.
The achievers were doing things that, at first glance, didn’t appear to be that amazing. They were simply doing what they were told to do in their initial training:
- They were setting appointments.
- They were seeing people.
- They were writing contracts.
And really, at first glance, like I said, it doesn’t seem like this was anything spectacular. The ingeniousness lay in the fact that they were indeed:
- Setting appointments
- Seeing people
- Writing contracts
Let’s contrast this for a moment with what was happening with the non-performers.
Here’s a list of the behaviors that I observed in that particular set of people:
- Spending an inordinate amount of time learning about the company products
- Filing papers
- Setting up their office
- Getting distracted by home and automotive repairs
- Setting up systems for their workflow, yet not actually doing any revenue-generating work.
A Name for What I’m Seeing
As I researched this performance issue for my doctorate degree, I learned there is a name for what I was seeing.
These two types of behavior are called problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping.
Problem-focused coping is leaning into your problem. Meaning, essentially, that you are doing the work required to get out of whatever hole you’re in.
Emotion-focused coping, on the other hand, is leaning away from your problem. This means you will do everything but deal with the problem itself. This behavior is so common to entrepreneurs that it deserves to have a book of its own.
[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Are you leaning into your problem, or away from it?[/shareable]
It is safe to say all of us have used emotion-focused coping in the course of running our businesses.
Combating Emotion-Focused Coping
How should we combat it?
- Recognize when you are leaning away from your problem rather than facing the issue. The first step is always acceptance.
- Put pen to paper. Answer this question: Why aren’t you (fill in the blank) — setting up more appointments, picking up the phone more often, attending more networking meetings, etc.?
- Dig into the issue to name what you are feeling.
After you have put pen to paper, look at what you have written and ask yourself this next set of questions:
- Is this an issue of not having the right skills or knowledge?
- Do you simply need additional coaching in this area?
- Is this more of an issue of abilities? Meaning you have seen someone else do this before, but you just don’t know if you can do it yourself.
The real payoff comes when you dig deep here. Again, look at this list of questions and ask yourself:
- What kind of emotions arose as you were putting pen to paper?
- Did you find yourself saying “I always seem to be dealing with (fill in the blank) — fear, procrastination, perfectionism, etc.?
To solve issues related to knowledge, skills, and abilities, it’s a good idea to seek out a professional coach who can help with these matters.
When sorting through issues which have to do with emotions, a good licensed counselor is a great place to start and this can truly be the key to overcoming the roadblocks which have been holding you back.
[reminder]What techniques do you use to stop emotion-focused coping (leaning away from the problem) when you notice it in yourself?[/reminder]