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.

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!

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.

How to differentiate yourself (when other people do what you do)

“Why would someone want to hire me, when there are so many people who do the same thing I do?”

Such an important question to consider as a business owner, and one I suspect has crossed your mind before.

To answer this let’s imagine that our business is a peanut butter cup.

There are 2 parts to the peanut butter cup – the chocolate and the peanut butter. Although each part is tasty on it’s own, when we put the 2 together that’s where the magic happens!

  • The chocolate is the ‘thing you do’ – your title or profession. OBM. Coach. Copywriter. Etc.
  • The peanut butter is about YOU – who you are, what you do best and who you are meant to serve. It’s about your zone of genius.

When we focus on our title alone – the chocolate – then we end up feeling the same as everyone else. The fact is that yes, there are lots of other folks out there who do what you do, and it can be easy to get lost in that crowd… sometimes to the point where we don’t even bother putting ourselves out there at all.

When we bring our zone of genius into the mix – our peanut butter – this is what allows us to differentiate ourselves from all the other people who do what we do.

Our zone of genius is the thing that our ideal clients are going to connect most strongly with, and have them choose us over someone else who does the same thing.

It’s the difference between saying “I’m a business coach” vs. “As a coach I help overwhelmed and frustrated business owners who are offering too many things to step back and identify the ‘one thing’ that will be most enjoyable and profitable for them to offer.”

Or “I’m an OBM” vs. “I’m an OBM who loves nothing more than creating order out of chaos, and I work with my clients to clean up what feels really messy in their business right now so that they can continue to grow on a strong foundation vs. a flimsy house of cards.”

This is exactly what we are working on in my Genius Accelerator that starts next week. We are going to start by identifying your zone of genius, and then work to ‘weave’ it into what you offer so that you stand out from the crowd.

Or – put another way – we are going to create your peanut butter cup together. Yum! 😉

If you are interested in joining us email me and I’ll send you the details.

Feeling trapped in your zone of excellence?

One of my favorite concepts comes from the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

In the book he talks about how our activities in the world show up in four main ‘zones’:

Zone of Incompetence. Zone of Competence. Zone of Excellence. Zone of Genius.

The first two zones are pretty straightforward.

  • Zone of Incompetence are those activities that we just aren’t good at. Others can do them a lot better than we can.
  • Zone of Competence are those activities that we can do well, but others can do them just as well as us.

It’s the last two zones that are zingers for us as business owners.

  • Zone of Excellence are those activities that we do extremely well.
  • Zone of Genius are those activities that we are uniquely suited to do. They are an expression of our natural genius – our gifts. Our purpose.

Now here’s the zinger, in Gay’s words straight out of the book.

“For successful people, the Zone of Excellence is a seductive and even dangerous trap. To remain in this zone is to hobble yourself from taking the leap into your Zone of Genius. The temptation is strong to remain in the Zone of Excellence; it’s where your own addiction to comfort wants you to stay. It’s also where your family, friends and organization [clients] want you to stay.”

Oooooeee! I remember the first time I read this it really hit home.

My entire business at the time was built around my zone of excellence. I was making good money. My clients were thrilled with my work. BUT something was missing… I was no longer feeling fulfilled and it was starting to drain me.

I spent years trying to ignore those feelings – telling myself “I should be happy with what I have” and that people were relying on me. It felt irresponsible to want more and to risk ‘shaking things up’ in pursuit of what felt like selfish desires. Despite my best efforts to push it aside, that nagging feeling that I was meant for more just wouldn’t go away.

Perhaps you can relate?

This is the zone of genius calling us. Tapping us on the shoulder saying “hey, look over here…”

And try as we might, we can’t get away from it. As much as we want to stay in the comfort of the zone of excellence – and it can be SO comfortable!! – it’s always there… peeking over our shoulder. Whispering in our ear of possibilities we may not even be aware of yet. Those inklings that there is something more out there for us on the journey of business and life.

I’m curious – what zone are you in right now in your business? Leave me a comment and let me know.

When is enough enough?

I’m about to head into day 2 of our annual OBM Live conference – exclusive to members of our Certified OBM community.

Our theme this year is the inner game – and how if we don’t take care of our inner game then we will struggle to see results in our outer game.

We are having some amazing discussions around burnout and boundaries. Leading through chaos. Impostor syndrome and dealing with the worry, doubt & fear that comes up for all of us.

During one of our sessions yesterday the topic of ‘more more more’ came up, and how easy it is to fall into the trap of always wanting more.

More clients. More money.

Getting more done. And in less time (ooof).

And feeling the CONSTANT pressure of all of this.

There is a very real price to this that we don’t talk about often. Things like:

  • Hitting burnout because we are over working ourselves (or even overthinking, which can be equally as exhausting!)
  • Not being able to enjoy the success we do create, because we are instantly looking to the next goal
  • Feeling shame because we aren’t where we think we should be.

Keeping it real – this is a trap I’ve fallen into in my own business… and I’ve paid the price.

I remember when I first hit 6-figures in my business. It was a goal that I had for years, and I would dream about how amazing life would be. And when I hit 6-figures in my business I barely even noticed it, because I was so focused on “OK, now I have to hit 7-figures!!”

I didn’t take a moment to celebrate it or really let it in. I just kept on going… kept on working.

This is something I continue to struggle with – every goal that I reach. Every milestone that I pass. There is a part of me that feels like it’s “not enough”.

What if – instead of trying to constantly get more – we aimed for ENOUGH? 

Enough to live the lifestyle we want. And I’m not just talking about money here (although that is certainly part of it) – I’m talking about energy as well. The bigger the business the more it’s going to require of us, even when we have amazing support around us. How hard do you really want to work? How much time do you have available for work when you consider the life you want to live now? (Not the life that you think you’ll get to live in the future once you ‘get there’.)

It’s hard to resist the lure of more, more, more! Everything around us is telling us we should want more. Our own internal drive is telling us the same.

AND you ultimately get to decide.

What is enough? Right here. Right now.

What if we could be happy with enough? What if we could linger there and truly receive and enjoy it? Hang out there for a while… maybe even years?

Not gonna lie – this is something I have yet to master for myself. I’m aware of it and I’m working on it as well, but there is a lot to untangle around the ‘more more more!’ habit.

And yes, there are times when we may truly want more. There are seasons when we have more to give. More energy. More time. In which case go for it! Bring it on.

But we also need rest. We need to linger. We need to simply be and enjoy.

Imagine if we gave ourselves permission to simply live in enough. How different would life be?