3 mistakes service providers make around boundaries

Boundaries are a hot topic… and for good reason! Without strong boundaries in our client relationships we can end up run ragged. In today’s new video I’m sharing the 3 biggest mistakes I see service providers make around boundaries.

I’m curious – do you feel like you have strong boundaries in place with your clients? Or is this an area that you know you need to work on?

4 Levels of Delegation

Delegation isn’t as simple as “hey – do this thing” – there are aspects of delegation that will vary from role to role, based on the needs of the business. When we are clear on these different levels it can help alleviate some of the more common frustrations that come up in working together.

I’m curious – how do you see these different levels applying to you and your team? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Certification is NOT the right business model for most people

Even though I’ve done it for years now, I can’t lay claim to having helped “hundreds” of people create a certification program… I’ve worked with “tens” of people over the years, not hundreds. (55 people to be exact – I just looked it up.)

Why so few? And why would I admit that? Isn’t that like some major marketing faux pas!

Well… I don’t think it’s the right business model for most people. So I don’t market it to the masses.

There are certain criteria you need to have in place to be ready (as I shared in this post). Plus it’s not a business model to be taken lightly.

There are bigger picture considerations to really think through.

Are you willing to risk your reputation? What if you certify someone and they suck? <– biggest fear of most folks I work with (and one that can be mitigated).

What about creating your own competition? When you certify people to ‘do what you do’ then there are more folks out there who do what you do. (Which can be fine of course, AND is a very real consideration.)

There are A LOT of nit picky little things you need to be aware of and ready for – legal, structural, curriculum, IP, licensing, renewals, etc. You want to think through and make decisions on ALL of these things before you enroll your first student, otherwise you are putting your business and brand at risk. (I have a Master Decision Checklist that I work through with my clients so that we don’t miss anything.)

Certification is not a model where you can just ‘jump in and make it up as you go’… there is simply too much at stake. Other business models allow for that – heck, I’ve done that many times myself with other training and coaching programs I’ve started! – but it doesn’t work for certifications. When I started my OBM Certification 13 years ago I was making it up as I went, and believe me… I’ve made plenty of costly mistakes along the way because I didn’t know better. Ooof.

It also takes TIME… probably more time than you might think to bring it to life. I’ve had clients take a year or more to prep and build before launching their certification, which might seem like a long time in our fast paced online world, but allows them to do it right, at the right time and set the stage for long term success. (I was just talking with a client today who is about to launch her certification that we started working on together 15 months ago… she’s done an amazing job working through all the little bitty things and her program is smoooooking hot!)

Certification is my favorite business model for sure – AND I’m also aware it’s not the right one for everyone. So I’m never going to market it as the “hey world, this is the latest and greatest thing that everyone should do!” Because it’s not…

If you are thinking about certification or licensing and wondering if it is the right model for you feel free to email me – I’m happy to chat through a few things to help you decide.

Do you need a tweak or a change?

You feel like something is missing from your business model /current offering and are wondering if it’s time for a change.

Maybe you’ve been doing what you do for a while now and are (secretly) bored and want to up level.

Maybe things are pretty good but you know that you are meant for more and want to make a bigger impact.

Maybe you want to make more money, but are tapped out with your current client load and don’t have the time or energy to take clients or projects on.

Conventional wisdom will tell you that it’s time for a CHANGE – to stop what you are doing now and do something totally different.

For example, to stop being a VA/OBM/copywriter [insert your title here] and become a coach/trainer/consultant instead.

I’m not a fan of this advice for 2 reasons:

1) You are essentially starting your business over from scratch when you change what you are doing. It’s not just about a new business model or offer – you are also now having to find a whole target market (the people who bought your services are not the same folks that will want to buy a training program from you), new messaging, new marketing, new branding/materials, etc.

2) It’s generally not necessary to make that big of a change to get what you want. Many times when I’m working with clients it’s more about looking for a TWEAK than making a big change. To leverage what you’ve already created vs. starting over again from scratch.

This is where your zone of genius comes into play… often it’s ‘weaving’ your zone of genius into what you doing already that can make the difference that you are looking for. That can allow you to charge more for your work. That can attract a more aligned, ideal client in your current target market. That can get you out of doing the stuff you are tired of doing so that you can do more of what you love.

And it also doesn’t require you to go out and start from scratch – taking months (or even years) to get things flowing again.

This is exactly what we are doing in my Make Money from Your Zone of Genius Workshop on February 3rd.

We are going to roll up our sleeves together – virtually – and look for that tweak you are craving to take things to the next level. To feel excited and fulfilled in your business again. (And yes, to make more money.)

Would love to have you join us if this feels timely – details can be found here. (no fancy webpage or anything – just a simple invite)

Let me know if you have questions.

It’s a crowded marketplace online these days (3 strategies)

The upheaval of the past couple of years has brought A LOT of people into the online business world.

There are folks who were forced online due to layoffs or business shutdowns. Those who have had to change their schedules and lifestyle to accommodate for taking care of kids and family. Folks who simply had ‘enough’ of unsatisfactory workplaces and weren’t willing to stick around. Or who had always dreamed of doing their own thing and thought ‘now is the time to do what I really want to do.’

Having worked online now for over 20 years I LOVE seeing how many more folks have come into our online world. It’s a great place to be and there is loads of opportunity in the online space.

And, let’s be real… more folks online means more competition.

If you’ve been online for a while now you may have noticed that it’s getting more crowded. There are more people out there now who ‘do what you do’ – be it as a coach, trainer, OBM, VA or otherwise.

And it’s natural to be wondering “How do I stand out?” or” Why would someone choose to work with me when they have so many other options?”

Here’s 3 strategies to consider when you want to stand out and succeed in a crowded marketplace.

1) Go Deep

I do a trends call for my Certified OBM Association each year and one of the 2022 trends we talked about was micro-niching. Being a generalist isn’t enough in a crowded marketplace, as you are positioning yourself to be the same as everyone else with the same title as you. Look for ways to go deep (focusing on the few) vs. wide (focusing on the many.)

For example, if you position yourself as a business coach you are instantly competing with every other business coach out there. If you position yourself as a business coach who helps founders prepare their business for sale within 3 to 5 years, you’ve instantly positioned yourself to work with a very specific type of client. You can get known for doing this specific thing and can go deep in your expertise there.

2) Leverage your Genius 

If our goal is to go deep (as shared above) it also brings up an opportunity for us to leverage our genius. It’s soooo easy to build a business around doing ‘all the things’ – especially when we are good at doing many things! Not only does this put us in the mix of all the other generalist “I can do anything you need me to do for you” folks – it is a recipe for stress, overwhelm and potentially burn out.

It is more important than ever to align your business with your strengths – your genius – in a crowded marketplace. Your genius may be the thing that has you stand out from the crowd, while building a business that is energizing and enjoyable.

3) Stay the Course!

Imagine you want to grow a fruit tree. First you plant the seed. Then you spend time tending to the seed – giving it what it needs to grow. Everyday that you tend to the seed it grows and over time you will have a beautiful tree.

I see too many folks in the online space messing up their seeds. They plant a seed and 3 months later get tempted by another type of tree that they think would be easier to grow, so they abandon their seed and plant another one. Only to be distracted yet again by what they were promised would be a bigger tree, planting yet another seed and starting all over yet again…

In many ways this is the most important strategy – give your seed time to grow! Commit to tending it daily through your actions. Give folks time to get to know you for what you do. Give yourself time to really dig in and go deep. Every time you change your mind you are essentially starting your tree over again from scratch. My recommendation is to always give something at least a year (maybe two) in order to really see what is possible and to allow your success to really bear fruit (pun intended 😉

To be clear, there is still TONNES of opportunity out there for all of us. Crowded doesn’t have to mean we can’t create the success we are looking for, it just means we need to be more purposeful and strategic.

I’m curious – do you feel like the marketplace has become more crowded? If so, which of these strategies feels most relevant for you? Or what are you doing to navigate these crowded waters?