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?

The invisible workload

I saw a post over the holidays talking about the invisible workload of the holiday season and the weight of having to think about & plan everything… getting gifts, coordinating family dinners, putting decorations up, putting decorations away and taking care of ‘all the things’. As a mom I could totally relate!

This is referred to as the invisible workload because even if we aren’t the one doing everything, we are the one THINKING about all the things and making all the decisions. Who is going to bring dessert for family dinner? What gifts should we get the kids? When do we put up the xmas lights? Should we take the tree down on new years day or wait? I could go on.

And even if we have help in the household – a spouse, partner or kids – we are still the ones having to ASK folks to do things. Sometimes more than once. (something I’m very familiar with having 2 teenage daughters in the house… I’ve asked my daughter to take her dishes upstairs twice already today 😉

As I read this post it occurred to me – this happens in our businesses as well!

How much of what we ‘do’ each day falls into the invisible workload category? Things that aren’t obvious and that we can’t necessarily check off a to-do list, but that can take up a surprising amount of time & energy.

Things like:

  • Thinking about what needs to be done – when, how and by who
  • Delegating what needs to be done – we may not be doing the work but having to ‘pass it along’ to someone else still takes time
  • Following up on tasks – checking in with folks re: “what is the status of this?” is work, in particular when things aren’t getting done or are falling behind
  • Making decisions – be it big or small decisions, there is energy required to think through everything so we can decide (and decision fatigue is a very real thing)

Now to some degree the invisible workload is just part of the gig – as business owners there is always thinking & decision making to be done.

But as our businesses grow we simply don’t have the capacity – or the desire! – to keep all of this invisible workload on our plates. And it can start to show over time through exhaustion, frustration or by things being stalled waiting for our input & decisions.

There are a few things you can do when you find the invisible workload is becoming too much:

  • Hire an OBM to take some of the invisible workload off your shoulders – once you hit the early to mid 6-figure range there is simply too much going on to keep it all on your own shoulders. An OBMs expertise is taking your vision/goals and turning those into actionable plans, getting the right folks in place and ensuring that the work is getting done on time and correctly.
  • Lead your team to take more ownership of their role – where is your team relying on you to make decisions or tell them what to do? Work together to clarify their role and lay out expectations of where they can take more ownership and make decisions on their own.
  • Look to simplify where possible – are you trying to do too many things at once? As a visionary I can easily fall into the trap of “let’s do all these things and do them now!!” which of course means more thinking, decisions and delegation. Instead of trying to do 3 things this month, what if you focused on doing only 1?

I’m curious – where/how do you feel like the invisible workload is showing up in your business?

And if you are an OBM/service provider – where could you take more of the invisible workload off your client’s plate? They may not be asking you for this, but I assure you they will thank you for it when you do!

Perfectionism

I find perfectionism to be an interesting thing.

On one hand it’s about excellence – we want to do great work. We want to create amazing results for our clients. We want to bring our best to any situation. These are all good things to strive for in business.

But perfectionism can also be the thing that stops us and is a very common form of resistance or self-sabotage.

In my experience, when I’m stuck in perfectionism it’s often masking a fear of making a mistake.

“What if I mess up and they think less of me?” “What if I let them down?” “What if I’m not as smart/talented/awesome as they think I am?”

These are the kind of fears that can trigger shame and make us feel like we aren’t good enough. Ooof.

If we are someone who gets caught up and stuck in perfectionism, what do we do about it?

I don’t think it’s as easy as just saying “well there is no such thing as perfect, so just do it anyways” or “done is better than perfect”. Those things are true, but they aren’t helpful when deep down inside we are terrified of making a mistake and letting someone down.

What if instead, we worked on becoming better at making mistakes?

One of the things we talk about in our Certified OBM community is ‘the big mistake’. Meaning that all of us at some time will make a big mistake – it’s inevitable. (Mine was deleting an ENTIRE client website that wasn’t backed up anywhere – eep!)

The most important thing about making a mistake is how we respond to it.

  • Do we take ownership of the mistake and look to fix it or make it right?
  • Or do we run, hide, or try to blame someone or something else for the situation.

When I deleted that client website, I took ownership of rebuilding the entire thing. And even though the client was slightly annoyed it had happened, in the end it was totally fine because I fixed it.

I can tell you from experience on both sides of the coin – as both client & service provider – that ownership is what really matters. 99% of the time your clients will be fine with any mistakes that happen, so long as you take ownership of fixing it and looking to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In other words, if you become good at responding to mistakes – taking ownership – then perfectionism no longer has to be the goal. It no longer has to be the measuring stick you use to decide whether or not you are doing a good job (and we all know, when we measure ourselves to perfection we will never measure up.)

Instead, the goal becomes “am I someone who is willing to take ownership for any mistakes?” Even when it sucks and feels uncomfortable. Even if a part of you does want to run and hide. (I thought I was going to barf when I had to tell my client about deleting that website!)

And strangely enough, as we take ownership and become better at responding to mistakes… perfectionism may no longer have such a strong hold over us. We know mistakes will happen and we know that we will take ownership of it and take care of it. <– That is what really matters.

Here’s to making mistakes! And being OK with it. 😉

My favorite strategic planning questions

Here’s some of my favorite questions to ask when we are doing strategic planning work – whether it’s with clients or within my own biz.

Q1 – Why?

This one word is my favorite question of all time and I use it often. You have some amazing ideas of what you want to accomplish – why? It’s so easy to go from “let’s do this thing” to “alright, let’s lay out a plan”… but is it the right thing to do? Why is this important? Why now? If you (or your client) can’t answer the why question in a deep, meaningful way then I would hesitate to move onto in depth planning yet.

Q2 – How will we know if we are successful?

When we aren’t clear on what success looks like, we will never be successful. It’s not enough to have goals like “more money” or “more clients”. Or to “work less”.  Exactly how much money? How many clients? How many hours do you want to be working? Specifics are measurable and you can build your plan to work towards them. [This is also a great place to ask why as well – “I want to make $X next year… why is that important? what does more money allows you to create in your business & life?]

Q3 – What do I want my role to be in all of this?

If you are anything like me, you may default to doing way too much yourself. (yes… I am a recovering control freak. 😉 When you are planning it’s important to also plan for what you want your role to be. What do you want to do? Not want to do? What should come off your plate? (even though you could be doing it.) Give yourself permission to let go of the things you no longer enjoy and the places where you shouldn’t be involved anymore.

Q4 – Who can do this better than me?

This goes along with the previous question – as you clear your plate you will want to look for folks who can step in and bring their brilliance to the table. I like to look through the lens of “who can do this better than me?” vs. “who can I hire to do this” as it brings a different flavor/expectation to the table (and I promise you, there are always people out there who are better than we are at the things we should no longer be doing.)

Q5 – What if this doesn’t work out?

Yes, I’m all for big goals and having a positive attitude about it all. But I’m also a realist and like to spend some time considering the options if it doesn’t work out. What if we don’t reach our goals? What impact does that have on the business? On revenue? On me as a leader? What is our backup plan if we don’t reach our goals? [I’m a fan of having a list of ‘fastest path to cash’ strategies in my back pocket for these moments… as we all have them!]

I’m curious – what are your favorite strategic planning questions? Comment here and let me know.

Tina

PS: Heads up on a couple of things that you may be interested in…

1. I’m going to be having a ‘flash sale’ on 1-1 strategy sessions later this month – a 60-minute session for just $597 (I rarely offer standalone sessions and my coaching packages start at $3000 and up). If you are interested in getting some 1-1 time with me stay tuned…

2. I’ve got a monthly ‘mini retreat’ series planned for the new year, and am going to be offering a smoking hot deal if you sign up before the end of the year. These 3-hour virtual sessions are designed to be both affordable and highly impactful (I love when we can make meaningful change together in just 3 hours a month.)  More details to come…

3.  I have another round of the Certification Accelerator LIVE starting in the new year. If creating a certification is on your list for 2022 hit reply and I’ll put you on the early notification list.