We all fail more than we succeed

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Leadership | No Comments

We all fail way more than we succeed – we just don’t talk about it.

And we are paying the price for it.

We look around and see everyone else succeed and wonder where we went wrong. And after repeated failures, we wonder what is wrong with us.

We suffer in silence – afraid that if we share our failures people would think less of us. Clients would be turned off and not want to work with us.

We stall – wanting to succeed but equally as afraid of making another mistake. So we do nothing and stay stuck where we are.

And yet – it is our failures that lead us to our greatest success. It’s a necessary part of the journey.

I can’t help but wonder…

What if we shone a light on our failures? Looked them in the eye and asked what lesson they have to give?

What if we shared our failures? Even celebrated them?

What if we explored our failures? Knowing that each failure leaves clues as to what will work – if only we are willing to do the work to find it.

This is the heart of the new ROI Lab that Andrea Lee and I are starting next month.

It’s a safe place to try new things, and to dig deeper when they don’t work, knowing that the answer to “what went wrong and what to do about it” can be found within the failure.

A place to tweak existing things, finding ways to make them simpler and easier – so that you can enjoy a greater return on all that you put into your business (ROI baby!!)

A place to receive the insight of others – including direct feedback from both Andrea and I – to see what you can’t see. To help ‘diagnose’ what went wrong and what to try next.

A place to show up and be real – in a judgement free zone where failure is the norm, and we have your back when you do.

Our failures can be our greatest teachers, but it is up to us to be open to the lessons they contain.

We have space for only 30 people to join us in the ROI Lab that starts next month – if you are interested in learning more comment below or send me an email.

Business advice from Stephen King?

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Success Mindset | No Comments

Love this! I (perma) borrowed* a copy of the book On Writing by Stephen King from my friend Mike this weekend… such a great read! Even if you aren’t a writer or a fan of his books, what he shares can be applied to so many areas of business.

One of my favs is the fact that he doesn’t actually know what his books will be about before he writes them. Say what?! 

He comes up with an idea or a scenario and then starts writing to see what will happen. He is just as surprised and intrigued writing the story as we are reading it. <— wow!

I’ve heard George RR Martin (Game of Thrones author) say the same thing – if he knew the full story before he started writing it then he wouldn’t bother writing it because he would be bored.

Can’t help but wonder how this applies to the way we run a business?

Where is the sweet spot between laying out the plan in advance – vs laying it out as we go?

The extreme on either side can be problematic.

If we plan out too much or too far in advance we leave no room for being able to respond to what comes up on the journey. There is no room for creativity.

If don’t plan at all and just make it up as we go – we can end up wasting a lot of time and energy, and may never land where we want to go.

There is a middle ground that I’ve been playing in this past year. One part planning – one part flow – and it has served me well. Plus it’s been SO much more fun than just ‘laying out a plan and following it’… which I will admit feels boring at times.

This is something we will be teaching – and experimenting with – in a new program that Andrea Lee and I are starting next month. If you are interested in learning more about what we have cooking up let me know – comment below or send me an email.

*(Perma) borrowed – when one borrows a book with no intent of giving it back.  But don’t worry – Mike already knows I’m sending him a new copy.

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Self Sufficiency Syndrome

By | General Biz, Leadership, Success Mindset | No Comments

If there is one thing I know to be true about high-achieving women it’s this.

We CAN do it on our own.

We have already. We’ve proven we can make stuff happen. We are problem solvers. Fighters. Bring it on baby!

But at a certain point the very thing that we are best at – making it happen – can become our biggest burden.

I had an amazing conversation a couple of years back at a mastermind with two of my fav people – Samantha Bennett and Penelope Jane Smith. One of those ‘on a break in the hallway’ conversations, just off the cuff.

We got to talking about what Samantha called Self-Sufficiency Syndrome – where we are SO good at taking care of things on our own, that we don’t think we need help and nor do the people around us!

At the time I was about 2 years post divorce, and had been sharing how the hardest thing about that journey was when people would say to me:

“Tina, I’m so sorry to hear about everything… how are the girls? How is Dan? (my ex)… I know you will be fine.”

And every time they said that a tiny part of me inside would cry out “What about me? Why don’t they ask how I’m doing?”

They didn’t ask because they assumed I would be fine – they were simply responding to the way I had always shown up! That I had it all together and didn’t need help from anyone.

There I was, a newly single mom of 2 young girls with a business to run that is the sole provider of our income. And I was SOOO used to being the one to take care of things on my own that it didn’t even occur to me to ASK for more help. I didn’t know how to RECEIVE help when it was offered. My default response at that time was:

“I’m fine”

Fine – the other 4 letter word.

My divorce showed me that yes – I COULD handle it all on my own. I was. I did. And I’m beyond proud of that.

I did have amazing support in my business during that time. My team helped to keep the engine running and I’m not sure it would have otherwise.

And yet, I still felt like I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. That I had to figure it all out on my own. That it was up to me to keep pushing, or it might just fall apart. I felt the weight of responsibility to both my business and my team, and it became a pretty lonely place.

I remember asking myself one day – what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if I didn’t have to carry the ‘weight of the world’ on my own?

How different would my life be then? And is it even possible? Hmmm

I’ve spent the past couple of years fumbling around in this space.

Learning how to ask for help when I need it – especially in those moments when I’m feeling confused and stuck. Sometimes it’s help I pay for (great coaching has been my lifeline this past year) and sometimes it’s just me reaching out to a friend for a conversation.

Learning how to say yes when help is offered. And feeling bloody uncomfortable every step of the way! Also realizing that yes, I’m great at receiving paid help (ie: via my team) but horrible at receiving help without payment (there’s a whole other conversation for another time…)

I have by no means mastered this – my default is always self-sufficiency mode and I need a loving smack upside the head at times to shift this… but I have to tell you, something started to shift this past year.

I started having REAL conversations. I started facing the things I had been avoiding. I started to get real with myself – and others – about stuff I had been tolerating. I made changes in my business and life as a result of this.

It was also through these conversations that I started to see more clearly the work that I’m meant to do. And that there is no way in hell I can do it alone. Nor do I want to.

The truth is – great missions require a great deal of support.

I’ve already proven that I can do this on my own – now it’s time to prove what we can do together.

THIS is my growth edge – I’m curious if this is something that you can relate to?

It is really possible to build a freedom based business?

By | CEO Tips, Leadership, Team & Outsourcing | 3 Comments

There are varying degrees of freedom in business.

On one end of the extreme is the soloprenuer – the person who does all the work themselves. If they don’t show up work doesn’t get done.

On the other end of the extreme is the owner who has structured a business that runs and grows without them. They don’t have to show up at all for work to get done.

Everyone talks about the second option as being a ‘real’ business – that it should be the ultimate goal of every business owner. And that if you fall into the first category you don’t have a business you have a “glorified job”.

That’s such BS.

Being in business is all about the freedom of CHOICE. The choice to do what we want. When we want to do it. And with the people we want to work with.

I was a soloprener for the first 10 years of my business and I loved it! Yes, I had to show up to do the work or I didn’t get paid. But it was on my terms. I set my own schedule. I (mostly) did things I wanted to be doing. I got to work with some amazing clients.

Beats a job any day imo!

I shifted to a leveraged business model in 2009 and had to learn (the hard way) how to shift my role in the company. How to get the right support and structure in place so I could do LESS of certain things and MORE of others. How to become a CEO.

But I am still working. I am still doing. Yes, I take weekends off and don’t work myself to the bone. I have an amazing team who takes care of the day to day running of my business. We have worked hard to setup solid systems to create ease for all of us. I can take an unplugged vacation and my business runs fine while I’m away.

But I’m still here. I’m showing up in my business.

I want to work. I like to work! And I dare say most of us feel the same… eating bon bons on the beach all day would bore the life out of me in short order. (what the hell is a bon bon anyhow?)

It’s more about doing the right things – and knowing that what we do makes the impact we want to make – vs doing nothing at all.

It’s also about recognizing that great missions require a great deal of support.

When you are looking a bigger mission in the eye, you are also being called to create a deeper level of support.

This can be especially challenging for powerful women who are rock-stars at making it happen and getting stuff done. Our default mode is carry it all and push through… which works up to a point, and then it doesn’t anymore.

Put simply, we can only take things so far on our own. We aren’t meant to carry the weight alone (believe me, I’ve tried!)

Great missions require a great deal of support.

I’ve got a few things brewing in this space and would love to connect if this speaks to you. Send us an email and we will get you the inside scoop.

Lead. Manage. Do.

By | CEO Tips, Leadership, Team & Outsourcing | One Comment

Originally posted on Sept 29th 2016

I lead our first Best Team Ever Intensive last week and it was awesome. The ladies who joined us rolled up their sleeves and got clear on who they need to hire next and how to find the best people. Here’s to support on your terms baby!

One of my favorite teachings in this intensive is about the role of leading, managing and doing. All 3 are essential for success but the question is – who does what? Where do YOU need to spend your time? Check out today’s new video for the inside scoop.

A Lesson in Doing What I’m Told (even when I don’t like it)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 6 Comments

rulesI was in a workshop this past weekend learning a new business model (retail commerce) and my experience got me to thinking about something.

There is a lot of talk lately about NOT following someone else’s “7 steps to success formula” and to just do it your way. It’s almost become a rallying cry these days and I think it’s a potentially dangerous one (and yes – I am one of those who has been rallying that cry at times!)

I get it. We have all bought into programs with big expectations that didn’t work for us. Or that didn’t work the way we expected. And that sucks… especially when it feels like it keeps happening.

So it is tempting to say “screw the blueprint! – I’m going to just do it my way.” Especially if you have a bit of a rebellious streak like I do. (I know I’m not alone here… 😉

Ultimately you have a choice in how you want to build your business. You can blaze your own trail and work from trial and error. Or you can follow a formula that someone else has already proven works. Either one can get you there – it’s just a matter of choosing the type of journey you want to have.

BUT following an existing formula will only work if you are purposeful upfront in a few key areas… there is actually a simple formula to being able to successfully follow a formula (ha!)

1) Figure out first what you REALLY want to create. If you don’t know what type of business you want and are really suited for – then don’t buy into any formula to build a business yet! You need to first do some deeper work (i.e with a coach) to figure this out. I’ve seen many people waste time, money and energy trying to build something that they were never meant to do…

2) Find someone who has PROVEN the business model that you want to build. This is a surprisingly hard step as it requires some digging and potentially some patience. I’m always looking for the person who lives what they teach. Who has been doing it for years. And often these are NOT the people with the flashiest marketing because they are more focused on running their business! Great marketers are not always great business owners…

3) DO THE WORK. For the love of all things holy – do what they tell you to do! This is the hard part because yes – there is work to be done and yes – you won’t want to do all of it. But you need to do the work if you want to create success. Don’t complain that it didn’t work if you stopped after step 2. Or if you skipped steps 4 & 5 and went to step 6 because it was more fun.

Does this mean success is guaranteed? Hell no – this is business baby and unfortunately success is never guaranteed even with the best ‘formula’. But you will be more likely to succeed if you do the work. Start there. And if it doesn’t work dig deeper (again – a coach can be helpful here.)

As for me? I followed EVERY step I was told to do in my workshop this past weekend. And I will admit – there were times where I thought “I don’t want to do it that way” or “maybe I’ll try this instead”. There were even moments of “I’ve been in business for a long time already so I can do what I want”… But I gave myself a mental slap on the wrist and just did what I was told. I followed the steps that they had already PROVEN to work. And I left that workshop after 3 days with a live, running store. (Which I’ll share more about in the future… for now I’m keeping it under wraps as I play.)

If I had gone rogue and tried to do it my way I wouldn’t have a live store right now.

The bottom line is this:

If someone is building the same type of business you want to build then the easier path is to. Follow. Their. Steps. Until you have proven the business model for yourself (aka – made consistent money) THEN go ahead and start doing it your way.

You may still get there if you skip the first part and jump right into doing it your way – but usually at the cost of spending WAY more time in trial and error. Which can erode your confidence and passion over time, not to mention empty your wallet!

Know yourself. Know what you need. And choose accordingly.

Ostrich or Control Freak

Are you an Ostrich or a Control Freak?

By | General Biz | No Comments

Originally posted on Jan 31st 2014

When it comes to running their business, Entrepreneurs will fall into one of 2 categories – Ostrich or Control Freak. This is especially important to understand when it comes to dealing with stress in the business (and growing a business is certainly stressful at times).

If you are an Ostrich, you default into avoidance mode, putting your head in the sand and crossing your fingers, hoping that someone else will swoop in and save the day. Ostriches generally don’t like, or understand, the “behind the scenes” stuff in business.

In fact, some of them may hate it. So they tend to rely too much on other people for the answers and to do the work that needs to be done. They will hire and blindly trust people on a whim, assuming that whoever they hired is doing it right, which isn’t always the case and can lead to big issues. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and money spent on hiring the wrong people, implementing the wrong systems and trying to fix mistakes down the road.

If you are a Control Freak you default into do-it-all-myself mode, where you keep everything on your plate, rarely delegate and end up working yourself to exhaustion. A Control Freak comes from a place of believing that they do it best and that no one else could possibly do the work as well as they could. Although this might be true to a degree, it’s a dangerous place to be in as a Control Freak will get caught in a trap of doing the wrong work. They will spend so much time and energy on all the “behind the scenes” stuff, that they don’t have time to actually grow their business and deliver their services. This leads to a lot of frustration, long working hours and ultimately, burnout.

What we are aiming for is to be in the middle – what I call being an Empowered Entrepreneur. When you come from an empowered place as a business owner, it means that you are:

  1. aware of what it takes to run and grow your business (vs. putting your head in the sand) AND
  2. you also have a team/systems in place that you trust to get the job done (vs. trying to do it all yourself.)

You own your responsibility in what it takes to run your business, and you won’t settle for less than the best for everyone concerned (including yourself!)

Now that you know your default mode for running a business, it’s important to know what kind of business you are building… we’ll talk about that next week. 😉

The BEST article on pricing that I’ve ever read

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Success Mindset | 12 Comments

It seems like everyone and their dog these days is touting the wonders of charging ‘premium rates’ for ‘high-end packages’.

Ugh. I’m tired of it… and here’s why.

First of all – it implies that if we aren’t charging ‘as much as we can!!’ then we are missing out. That the only goal of business is to squeeze every last dime out of the work we do.

Second – I’ve seen this set people up for failure. Either they struggle to sell at their new ‘premium’ rate (because deep down they don’t believe it’s worth it) or they sell at this premium rate but fail to deliver what the client was expecting (and find themselves in a bit of a pickle).

If the goal isn’t to charge as much as we can – then what do we aim for?

How do we know what the ‘right’ price is?

My friend Carolyn Herfurth shared this article with me recently and I daresay it’s the best article on pricing that I’ve ever read – including a really simple strategy to find your right price without going overboard.

Click here to read the article –> Your ‘Happy Price’ vs. Your ‘Sad Price’: How To Charge An Amount That Motivates You

And share below to let me know what you think? I’m curious to see if – and how – this might change the way you set your prices.

It certainly got my wheels turning…

My Top 10 Favorite Business Tools

By | Systems & How-Tos | 3 Comments

It may not surprise you to hear that I LOVE systems & tools. I am a ‘geek’ when it comes to finding the right tech to make life easier + to automate how we make money… and I have spent many years testing various tools to find the ones that work best for me and my clients.

Here is a list of the various tools, systems and folks that I use and recommend… ones that I can’t live without, enjoy!

* In the spirit of full disclosure there are affiliate links within this post, as indicated by a lovely little * beside the link. If you choose to purchase something based on my recommendation I may be paid a referral fee.

Top 10 Tools Tina Couldn’t Live Without!

1) Teamwork Projects* – Project Management & Virtual Office

This tool is my brain and I couldn’t live without it! When it comes to project management tools, there is a plethora of choices out there and it can daunting to find the right one. After years of trying many of the tools out there we’ve finally found the one we love  – Teamwork Projects. We use it for project management (keeping track of who is doing what) and also to centralize all of our company files & information (how to do stuff aka SOP guide). It’s simple to use and functions as our lifeline for the team – AND it works great on mobile devices too. I give this one two enthusiastic thumbs up.

If you sign up for any paid version of Teamwork Projects using the link above OR the referral code ‘automateyourgrowth’ at signup I will be paid an affiliate commission, and as such I’d love to give you something in return. I will gift you my 90 Day Systems Setup Guide & Checklist ($497 value) – this takes you step-by-step through setting up your OWN Top 10 Systems within 90 days. Email teamwork@tinaforsyth.com to claim your gift.

Want to see how we use Teamwork Projects in my biz? Check out my Tame the Chaos 90-minute training.

2) Infusionsoft* – Ecommerce, Broadcasting and CRM

This tool has been the hub of my business since 2010 (it really should be #1 on the list) – it’s ecommerce, email marketing, automated follow-up and CRM all rolled into one. Infusionsoft isn’t for everyone – especially if you are in the earlier stages of business! –  and as awesome as it is, it’s a tough one to learn. My recommendation: don’t try to figure it out yourself or you might go batty, get help from someone who is trained in the system.

3) AppointmentCore – Calendar & Scheduling Management

The day I started using an online scheduler was one of the best days of my business life. Instead of having to do that annoying “back and forth dance via email” to find a time to schedule meetings, I connect AppointmentCore to my calendar and send folks a link with open times. They simply pick a time that works for them and voila! We are set. It also syncs with Infusionsoft so we can manage appointments A to Z. Mwah!

4) Dropbox* – Cloud File Sharing and Backup

I don’t know about you but I struggled to find a good backup service for years – I would either forget to use the service (if it wasn’t automatic) or it would hang up my system each time it was doing a backup. Enter Dropbox, which does a seamless “sync” of your files to their online servers – not only is it a backup, it also becomes a way to access your files from anywhere you like. You can also share folders with other people on your team (vs. always trying to send stuff via email). Love love love this tool, I would sing it from the mountain tops.

5) Instant Teleseminar* – Bridgeline Service

Although we do more webinars these days (see #6) we still do a fair amount of teleseminar style calls as well. I will admit, I was a free bridgeline user for years. I had of course heard of Instant Teleseminar but was too cheap to fork out the $97/month… until I started using it and became hooked. I love how you can see who is online during the calls, you can mute/unmute individual folks easily and record calls with a click of the button. There is a webcast option that people love and even a way to share powerpoint presentations during a call. Plus it’s a paid service, so if you have trouble with your bridgeline you can call someone and say “help!” – which you can’t do with the freebie lines. Believe me, it is well worth the investment.

6) AnyMeeting* – Online Webinars

Online Webinars are a powerful way to deliver trainings – free or paid. I’ve tried MANY tools over the years, some pretty good and others disasters. Once I found AnyMeeting I cancelled everything else and just use this. You can do slides, videos, show your smiling face. You can record with one click. And people can dial in online or by phone. We use it all the time and I love it.

7) LastPass* – Password Management

Seems we have passwords for everything these days. Not only is it impossible to remember them all, but we are supposed to make sure they are complex enough to be secure. Ack! Enter Lastpass – an online password management tool that keeps track of all your passwords so you don’t have to. It has a great plugin for your browser so that you can automatically login to your various websites as needed – AND there is a team version so that you can securely share passwords with team members and control access when people join or leave your biz. <– sweet!

8) Grasshopper – Virtual Toll-free Number

I know there are lots of great toll-free and virtual phone services out there, and we used another tool for years which was OK. But after getting annoyed at what felt like constant additional charges we switched to Grasshopper and it’s been great! We don’t get a lot of phone calls, but I do like giving people a toll-free number to use if they want to call. You can set up calls to be directed to whomever you like, and also get copies of voicemail messages sent to you via email (which I LOVE).

9) Adobe Sign (was EchoSign)* – Electronic Signature Service

Fax machine? What’s that? 😉 Truthfully, we’ve used EchoSign now for so many years that my fax machine is just sitting in the corner gathering dust. When we started using this tool we no longer had to ask folks to “fax back their agreements” for our courses and programs – instead we send them a copy online and they do a virtual signature in minutes.  It’s all legit and is SOOO much easier all around.

10) Amazon S3 – Big File Hosting

This is a super dreamy tool if you have large files to host – like videos for example. I remember back in the day when I started in this biz, you used to have to pay ooodles of money to be able to host video. Amazon S3 does the trick and literally costs just dollars a month (I think the most I’ve paid in a month is $15.) We host all of our training videos here for all of our programs – also great to host audio files, PDF files and anything that you don’t want to put on your own website servers.

UPDATE: I’ve found 3 more tools that I can’t live without – check them out here

I’m curious what are your ‘can’t live without’ tools? Comment re: what you love and why

(No affiliate links pls – we will delete any comments with affiliate links)

The Safety of Confusion

By | General Biz, Success Mindset | 2 Comments

It always surprises me how often we get in our own way – how resistance shows up in sneaky ways to try and stop us from creating the success we desire. (Those pesky Upper Limit Problems, if you are familiar with the work of Gay Hendricks.)

I found myself getting stuck in a rather interesting ‘trap’ lately and am curious if you can relate?

I’ve recorded a brand spankin’ new video quickie to share more…

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