About Amanda Young

Amanda Young, MBA is known for helping small businesses simplify their marketing so they can dedicate more time to the work they enjoy. With a passion for helping others, Amanda’s marketing talents have helped business owners streamline their marketing strategies so their businesses run more efficiently, with less of the owner’s time. After studying business administration, marketing, international business, entrepreneurship and photojournalism at the University of Iowa and obtaining her Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Amanda gained a wide breadth of experience working with advertising agencies, startups, nonprofits and established businesses in a variety of industries including real estate, manufacturing, architecture, interior design, structural engineering, diamond wholesaling, event planning, photography, and custom cabinetry among others. With a keen eye for simplifying marketing systems, Amanda offers easy and creative solutions for businesses in need of a marketing overhaul or the creation and implementation of more efficient systems to focus marketing efforts and positively impact the bottom line. When she’s not helping businesses as a marketing consultant, she is busy as an author and mother of two small children living in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood with her husband. Her work includes Lions & Tigers & Babies! Oh My! – One Mom’s Journey Through the First Year of Motherhood (2008) and the blog SimplifiedMom.com where she shares baby laughs and advice based on her experience raising children in the city. Committed to education and serving others, Amanda is an active member of her Local School Council and the Rotary Club of Chicago Lakeview. When you need to Simplify Your Marketing, streamline your communications and create systems for maintaining consistency across all marketing efforts, Amanda is the perfect resource. To learn more about how to Simplify Your Marketing or get in touch with Amanda, visit: www.facebook.com/SimplifyYourMarketing www.linkedin.com/AmandaHYoung

Want An Easy Way to Plan Your Next 90 Days?

Happy New Year

Want An Easy Way to Plan Your Next 90 Days?

Do you find yourself feeling a bit (or totally) overwhelmed by the New Year? Goal setting? Resolutions?

So much potential for greatness, opportunity for growth, and excitement buzzing around what will be…

And so much stress brewing in your head as you’re wondering why you’re not where you want to be in your business, feeling like you should be doing more, and the endless to-do list repeatedly rearing it’s ugly head.

Let all of that crap go!

It’s time for a new way of ringing in the New Year…

with grace, and ease, tossed with a side of fun, and a whole lot of passion for life.

Sound good?

Okay!

Here are my 5 Steps to Planning Your Next 90 Days
Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for 3 seconds, and let it out through your nose. Repeat.

Now…

1. Write down 3 things you are releasing. What no longer serves you?

That could be your fears, expectations, negative thoughts, poor eating habits, anger, frustration, and the list keeps going. Start with three and feel free to add as many things as you want to release.

I’m seeing a lot of people try to kick 2016 to the curb with anger and frustration without releasing the roots of the drama that happened in 2016. Let it go. Don’t shove it down. Release it. Let it out. Have a good cry. Cut your cords* and move on.

 

2. Write down 3 things you are embracing. What do you want more of in your life?

Cuddles, game nights, abundance, clients, grace and ease, health, happiness, perspective, flow, energy. Again, you can have as many as you want but start with at least 3.

 

3. What is the feeling you want for today, this week, this month, or this year?

The amount of time doesn’t matter. The shorter, the better in many cases as your life and your energy and the growth process you’re experiencing as an entrepreneur is happening so fast that you won’t always be able to keep up… or pick a feeling that will resonate in six months so start small and go from there. You can always revisit this.

Maybe you want to feel the flow of a gentle stream as it carries you softly through life while you observe your surroundings and go with the flow.

For me, I want to feel rooted into the ground like a strong tree with a solid trunk, expansive branches that are nourished from the soil below and the light above. I want to feel the warmth of the world on my skin and know that I’m strong, yet flexible. I can wave in the breeze and still be standing after a storm.

Breathe into it. Close your eyes and describe how you want to feel.

 

4. What are 3 specific goals you want to reach?

Make sure they are specific, measurable, and able to be achieved within a defined amount of time.

Do you have an income goal for this week, month, or 90 days? Or a program you’d like to have ten people in by Sunday night? Maybe you want to play 4 board games with your kids this month? Or eat one salad a day for the next 7 days?

The more specific, defined, and clear you are, the easier it will be to bring them into your life.

 

5. What’s the VERY next step you need to take to achieve each of these goals?

CAUTION: Don’t go overboard here. If your goal is to make $5,000 in your business this month, break that into 5 clients at $1,000 each. Or 10 clients at $500. What step can you take to get the first client? Do that.

For my kids, I need to ask them to play a board game with me. Easy.

Then I can order a salad for lunch. Done.

Keep it simple, stay focused, and just do what needs to be done.

Think LEAN.

 

LESS IS MORE. Make that your motto for 2017.

 

*For a video from my coach on how to cut cords and get grounded in your body, and other cool energy tricks that will help get your energy and money flowing, go to www.freekickstarter.com

 

**For a free training on 8 Simple Steps to Allow Business Clarity in 2017, register here: http://bit.ly/8stepstoclarity

What FEELING do you want in 2017?

Winter is here and 2017 is right around the corner.

You’re probably thinking…

“I should be creating a plan for 2017!”

or

“I’m so behind!”

or

“I should really set some goals for the new year.”

And I’m here to say, “STOP!”

Before you go off and set a bunch of New Year’s resolutions and goals and pick your word of the year…

Stop.

Take a deep breath.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Okay.

Now that you’re more grounded, feel into what it is you do want.

Do not compare yourself to anyone else. (If you do, you give that person your money).

Do not fall into the “I’m not doing enough” trap. (You’re exactly where you need to be.)

Instead, consider getting clear on who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, and how you want to feel in 2017.

Instead of writing a bunch of goals, resolutions, or even a word of the year, let’s start simply by focusing on a FEELING.

How do you want to FEEL?

The past few years, I’ve chosen a word of the year to focus on. (The reality is, I can’t tell you what my word was for 2016. Flow maybe?)

Yesterday, I picked the word “Unflappable”. I thought it was awesome, and then a conversation with my friend Krish made me realize, that’s a negative, resistant word. It’s strong, but not uplifting. Solid, yet flimsy.

The word I’m after doesn’t really exist because what I want is a FEELING.

Going into 2017, I want to feel rooted into my body, connected to my soul, strong in my decision making, focused on what I want, deliberate in my actions, and solid in my business.

I want to root down, grow, and expand.

I want to blossom. I want to shine. And I want to be an inspiration for entrepreneurs who want to NOURISH their families, their businesses, and their souls.

What Feeling Do You Want In 2017?

What Feeling Do You Want In 2017?

The essence I’m after is that of a cherry blossom tree. With roots that extend past it’s branches, beauty in it’s blossoms, and strength in it’s trunk.

I don’t know how long this essence will be my focus, but it’s all I need for now. It doesn’t have to start on New Year’s or end after a set number of days.

I’m embracing it with all of my being and moving forward with more focus, will, and determination than ever.

I invite you to take a few minutes to consider your essence. What feeling are you after? What is it you want?

Feel free to reply with your feeling. Send me an image if you care to draw it out. Or post it on Facebook and tag me.

I’d love to help hold the space for your coming weeks, months, and 2017 to be more amazing than you ever imagined.

On that note… if you’re looking to get more rooted and grounded in your business, here are three ways to get you started:

Ideal Client Avatar Workshop
Tuesday Dec 20th from 11-1pm CST Join me online to build your Ideal Client Avatar for $97 Register here http://bit.ly/idealclientworkshop2

90 Days to Clarity
January 9th kicks off the next round of our group program. You’ll identify your true talents, find your ideal client and learn how to speak to her, know how to inspire more referrals, and get all the support you need to design a business you love. $997 after Jan 1st. $100 off if you register by New Years! Learn more and register here http://bit.ly/90DaysToClarity

Quick Clarity Call
Ready to chat about where you are, where you want to be, and how to get from here to there? Let’s chat. Grab a time on my calendar and let’s chat. www.SimplifyYourMarketing.com/clarity

Wishing you the most love and light possible this holiday season.

xo
Amanda

What’s an avatar and why do you need one?

Ideal Client WorkshopDo you have an ideal client avatar for your business?

If you aren’t sure what an avatar is, or why on Earth you’d need one (I’m not talking about the blue people from the movie Avatar), keep reading.

An ideal client avatar is a persona that you name and describe in intimate detail. Doing so allows you to focus all of your marketing efforts toward one person in a way that clarifies your message. And when your message is clear, your clients can hear what you’re saying and will be attracted to you instead of you having to chase them down.

If you don’t have an avatar, now is your chance to create one by joining me tomorrow morning at 9am CST (or on the recording) for an Ideal Client Workshop where we’ll be connecting virtually to draft out your avatar.

I’ll help you narrow your focus down to one person and help you figure out how to flesh them out.

If you have more than one avatar you want to work with, we’ll address that too.

I’ll share my avatar with you as an example, and by working together in this small group, you’ll be inspired by the collective and create a unique avatar that is perfectly aligned with your business.

Then we’ll talk about all of the ways your avatar will help you attract more clients.

Interested?

Join us.

It’s $97. We start tomorrow morning. The training will be recorded in case you can’t attend. And I’m offering a follow-up Q & A call next week to answer any questions that pop up after the workshop is over.

To sweeten the deal even further, I’m including my video series on How to Network When You Hate Networking.

This one exercise has completely changed my business, given me the clarity and focus I needed to really charge forward in my business, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

To register, click here: http://bit.ly/idealclientworkshop

See you bright and early tomorrow (or on the recording).

Amanda

Stop Being Busy… Start Taking Aligned Action

October is here and I’m ready to embrace the last quarter of the year, cooler temperatures and warmer clothes, but I won’t be slowing down.

I’m in full-on action mode in my business, and you can be too.

takeaction

I intend to finish this year off strong and to do that, I’ve got a plan:

  1. Set goals for the quarter ($10,000 in monthly income, 50 new prospects added to my list each month, 5 new clients a month)
  2. Create a content calendar and list of action steps I can take to advance my business and attract more clients. I check the actions against my ideal client to make sure they are aligned by asking, “What would my ideal client do/want/need?”
  3. Start each day with a list of 3 “must dos” that I absolutely need to get done before I go to bed every night. They need to be achievable, can be personal or business related, and I’m sharing them with my coach for accountability each day and checking them off each night.
  4. Take imperfect action, make mistakes, and learn from each mistake. Break things to learn how to rebuild them and take every moment as a learning experience.
  5. Get support. We have a new dog and I’ve hired two vets, a doggie daycare, a pet consultant, and a dog trainer in the two months of having him. I knew I needed help and got it.
  6. Delegate. I’m in the process of hiring a bookkeeper, house cleaner, and virtual assistant. Why? Because I can’t do this alone and I need help. And it’s perfectly fine to admit that. I also know that by investing in these areas, I’ll have more time for my business and will reach the next level of my success even faster.
  7. Break tasks and projects down into bite-sized steps. No need to climb the whole mountain in just one day. I prefer to savor the journey and go at my own pace, one step at a time.

For more information on how you can create your own plan, download Your Simple Weekly Content Plan & Action Guide. It’s a great way to pull together the ideas you have into actionable ways to reach a broader audience and serve more clients. There’s more to this process, but it’s a great starting point to get you focused.

 

I’m Smart. Why Can’t I Figure Out How to Find Clients?

I’m Smart!

We all know you’re smart. You got good grades in school, likely earned an advanced degree, and you love to learn. You read a lot of books–for fun, for work, for self-improvement. You sign up for free online programs like you have all the time in the world and think, “This one is it! Now I’ve got the answer!” You learn a lot, but always find yourself wanting more, and more, and more.

It’s an insatiable need to learn more.

And it’s killing your business.

Why?

You’re looking for the answers to come from someone else, outside of you, instead of from inside, where your truth is waiting to be revealed.

brain heart

It’s Not Working

School taught us how to fit into the traditional school system formula. We were taught to find the one right answer. Take tests, answer quizzes, and do homework. There was the right answer or the wrong answer and we were trained to search for the right one. The teachers all knew the right answers and it was our job to seek more knowledge.

So  why do you feel so stupid? Why is your business struggling? Why can’t you figure this whole business thing out already?

Because you’re looking for a teacher give you the answers.

The Solution

The problem, and therein the solution, is that the student (a younger you) unknowingly became the teacher (the current you).

As entrepreneurs, we need to shift into being the leaders of our own lives and our businesses and to do that, we need to realize that we are the teachers. We know what we’re doing. We know our area of expertise better than 99.9% of the world’s population. We have all of the answers inside of us and we don’t need to seek the answers from others. Sure, we can always be learning. But we need to stop looking to others for the answers. We need to stop waiting for someone else to tell us what to do with our lives. Then we become the leaders of our own lives and can teach the people we most need to help.

That doesn’t mean we can’t ask for help or we don’t need help from anyone else.

Far from it.

We Need the Right Help

We need the right kind of help. Instead of answers and formulas, we need someone to ask us the right questions and draw the answers out from the shadows so that we can see them.

Instead of “Who can tell me what my passion is and how to create a successful business?” we need to ask “Who can guide me to find my own answers from within?”

I know that might sound deep and scary, but it’s far easier to find your fastest path up a steep mountain when you have a trained guide who knows what to look for. You might not follow the person in front of you up the same path, but you will be able to find your own path that fits your individual needs.

I’m that type of guide.

That’s what I do.

So if you’re wondering what’s wrong with you and frustrated that you aren’t able to figure out this business thing on your own, we should talk. I offer a limited amount of Quick Clarity Calls for free each month to see if working together makes sense. If you’re still reading this message, odds are good that you should sign up for a call with me. Let’s chat and see where your path leads. You can find a convenient time on my calendar here: www.simplifyyourmarketing.com/clarity Let’s chat.

I promise not to give you the answers, or a bad grade, and I’m confident that you’ll leave the call with a lot more clarity than you have now.

Time Management for Entrepreneurial Moms

Who Has Time for Marketing?

School’s out for summer!

For those of you entrepreneurs who happen to be moms of school-age children, summer is a busy time for juggling kid’s schedules, work schedules, and your own mile-long list of to-dos. It can be a stressful time where you count the days until school starts, or it can be a joyful time where you make memories, slow down, and even sneak in some valued days off.

20160709_093925

If you’re an overachiever with high expectations for yourself as you are growing your business and wanting to serve more of your ideal clients, you may be under incredible pressure to perform and get things “just right” to make the most of every minute you invest in your business. (We’re not counting all those times you sneak a peak at an interesting Facebook post, laugh at a silly cat video, get caught up in a catchy news article, or *cough cough* watch yet another webinar on how to attract more clients).

So how do you find any level of “balance” while being surrounded by what can often times feel like a circus?

It comes down to time management.

Step 1: Start by lowering your expectations.

You read that right. It’s not a typo.

Lower your expectations of what you can actually accomplish. (I’m speaking from experience here.)

If you expect to be the perfect mother, wife, daughter, entrepreneur, friend, spouse, etc., you’ve got to let that go. The pressure is paralyzing and won’t get you anywhere.

Double or triple your timeline on everything, and then double it again. Do your best. Set an expectation to dedicate a set number of hours to your business, your health, and your family, and do what you can during the time that you do have instead of spinning over what you aren’t getting done. You might surprise yourself.

Step 2: Prioritize what’s most important to you.

Decide what is important to you and focus solely on that. If you have 10 things on your to-do list and three hours to do them, you’re starting out disappointed. Pick three tasks that matter to you and do ONLY those three tasks. Can’t get three done? Pick one, dice it into three steps and celebrate each step.

Want to attract more clients to your business and make more money? Focus on money-making activities. Period. Narrow down the activities that effectively get you in front of clients and link every action you have in your business toward those activities. (If you don’t know who your ideal client is or how to find them, email me and we can fix that.)

Free time? What free time? I’m a do-er. I want to touch up paint on the walls, make art for our guest bathroom, install new curtains, play in my garden, and watch a movie while knitting something pretty, but it’s not all going to happen in one day, or even one week. I have to accept that and focus on what I want most.

Same thing for your health. I need to see my dentist for a cleaning, check in with my nutritionist for a progress report, see my masseuse to reduce my stress levels, and get my back cracked so my neck doesn’t freak out on me. That means scheduling time for self care without feeling guilty that I’m not dedicating that time to my business or my kids. As a wise friend recently reminded me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill your cup first.”

And speaking of kids! I don’t think a full day of tablet and television time is a good idea for anyone. But I also have to accept that I’m not going to sit with them for eight hours a day reading books, supervising art projects, teaching them math, playing baseball with them outside, and enticing them to practice their lower-case letters in exchange for a Popsicle. That will all happen at some point but I’ve got all summer. I can accept that some days they will have four hours of tablet time and other days they will have none. They can earn tablet time by reading, writing, doing math exercises, and chores. And I can be okay with that.

I can be okay with all of it.

Step 3: Let go of everything else.

Let go of what other people think, what you think you *should* be doing, the guilt around not doing enough or being enough. Let it all go. Forgive yourself for not doing more or being more.

Step 4: Celebrate small wins.

Beating yourself up doesn’t get you anywhere in business or in life so start celebrating your wins.

Today, I got the kids off to their first day off summer school, saw the chiropractor, reached out to a couple of prospective clients, got the kids home from summer school, had a networking call with a referral partner, took my daughter to a doctor’s appointment, re-spackled a few holes in the wall, made dinner, took all of my vitamins, and drafted this article for my blog. When I write it out like that, it was a pretty awesome day.

Set the bar low and knock it out of the park, momma!

If you’re wondering how to get more clear about what actions you can take to find more clarity, focus, and balance in your business, email me. We can talk about what will work best for you and create a customized plan to tame your three-ring circus into a well-oiled marketing machine.

Before You Build a Business, Get Clear on What You Want

Have you ever hired a business coach before?

Did they give you all the tools, worksheets, software, training, and technology you could ever imagine with the promise that it would lead you to build the most amazing business?

And did you build an amazing business?

Or did you get busy designing a logo, getting your website ready, creating a free offer, recording some videos, planning an online course, launching a webinar, chasing clients who couldn’t pay you, and buying ads on social media to build your list?

(For those of you who feel like you just got punched in the gut, please take a deep breath. Inhale, count to six, hold it for three, exhale and release for six, hold for three, and repeat until you’re ready to cut ties, release all of that, and move on.)

I call this the “Keys to the Hardware Store”.

20160603_165613Many business coaches offer a path to success that comes in the form of all of the tools you could ever need to have successful sales calls, hire the right staff, and leverage your business to make the magical six-figures you’ve always dreamed of. They are teaching a wide variety of entrepreneurs at various stages of their business and assuming that their crowd knows how to filter out the high-level “tools” and “trainings” from the lower-level ones and only use those that apply to the stage of business they are in.

Unfortunately, I see three problems with that method:

  1. When you’re new and someone tells you to try a new tool, you try it in hopes that it works. Desperation kicks in and you get busy doing EVERYTHING you can to make money (I call it the Spaghetti Method of Marketing – throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.) All the tools in the world are great if you know what you’re building and which tools and supplies you’ll need to build it. If you don’t know what business you want to build, who you want to serve, and what services you want to provide, the keys to the hardware store are worthless. This is where CLARITY IS KEY! What are you trying to build?
  2. You can only leverage something that is built on a solid foundation with a system in place that is consistently working. Your business can be a temporary shack on the beach that gets you through the summer, or you can build a house that grows and expands with you as your needs change. Do you want a shack that you have to rebuild every year? No. You can’t work with one client, assume you have the magic solution and instantly sell it to 500 people in a group program. You have to test it out, gain client insights, and build momentum. It takes some trial and error to figure out what you want. You need to give yourself: space to change your mind, time to make mistakes and learn from them, and permission to get it really wrong before you get it right.
  3. The magical six-figure mark as a goal is horse shit. If we assume that you do make $100,000 in your business, we also need to assume that you have a budget, know your expenses, and understand the difference between NET and GROSS. If you GROSS $100,000 in your business, that doesn’t mean that your salary is $100,000. It means that you have billed your clients $100,000 and you now need to subtract all of your expenses: your website, marketing, logo design, cell phone, office, coaching, accountant, assistant, computer, software, subscriptions, scheduler, etc. And you’ll be lucky to clear/make/have a salary of $30,000 NET depending on how much you invested in your business. Six-figures can be a good goal to start out with, but you need to be thinking even bigger and get a hold of your numbers if you really want to have a successful business.

Instead of throwing things against the wall spaghetti style, building a crappy shack with no foundation, and investing in the keys to the entire hardware store when you only need a plan, a couple of tools, and a few materials to get started, I want you to get CLEAR. Why are you in business, what do you really want your business to look like, who you want to serve, what do you want to offer, and how can you communicate what you do to ONE IDEAL CLIENT that guides EVERY. SINGLE. THING. YOU. DO?

Your entire marketing plan (the blueprints for your business that lay out what materials you need, what tools you’ll use, and how to use them) MUST then be guided by that ONE IDEAL CLIENT. I call them your FAVORITE CLIENT because I want you to LOVE working with them!

If I sent you 20 of your FAVORITE CLIENTS today, right now, you’d be so happy you’d cry. Heck, if I sent you just two of them you’d probably kiss me… through the computer of course.

I can’t send them to you, or tell you which tools and materials you need from the hardware store, unless you identify who your FAVORITE CLIENT is and what you want to do for her.

I know this concept goes against everything you’ve been taught, but it works and my book, Finding Clarity, is proof. I wrote it for one person. Her name is Clara. She’s 34, has two small children, wants to start her own business to use her MBA skills in a way that pays her well, doesn’t have her reporting to a boss, and helps her clients build thriving businesses. As proof, I encourage you to download the ebook from Amazon, (It’s free June 8th-12, 2016 and $2.99 otherwise) read the first two chapters, and then tell me that I didn’t write it specifically for you and that you can’t relate. (I just had a middle-aged man tell me that the words I wrote spoke to him so clearly that he KNEW HE HAD TO WORK WITH ME! He is nothing like Clara and now I have the power to decide if we’re a good fit. Clients are coming to me. They are attracted to my clarity… and your clarity will be just as attractive.)

When you have a fear-based or “lack” mindset, you think you need to cast a big net to catch clients when, in reality, you just need to put your fishing pole in a lake with your type of fish and start attracting them one at a time. You can leverage, scale, and grow later but for now, you have to prove that you can handle one fish.

If you’re ready to find clarity in your business, create a plan for what you want to build, and have the support you need to choose the right tools and materials from the hardware store to build your business on a solid, sustainable foundation, sign up for a free Clarity Call with me.

Are You Ready for Live Video?

Have you ever wondered what cookies (the edible kind, not the Internet kind) have to do with marketing? Wonder no more.

Imagine you’re sitting at your computer and all of a sudden you start craving dream cookies. Take three seconds to close your eyes, inhale, exhale, and visualize the dream cookie of your choice. Then open your eyes and keep reading.

Ready? Go.

What did you see?

(I saw gluten-free, peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate-chip cookies that are soft, chewy, and deliciously sugar-free . I sure can dream, right?)

chocchipcookies

Okay.

Now imagine that you find a store that has them already made, and as many as you desire easily available to you.

You know what you want. Now visualize it in your mind, and clearly experience how it will make you feel to have those dream cookies.

WONDERFUL!

Now we’ll reverse things. Instead of knowing what you want, we’re going to make this exercise less about what you want.

Imagine you’ve been hearing a lot about mystery cookies and how you never know what you’ll get. You’re in the store and see a ton of mystery cookies. You don’t know if you like them, they might be risky to try (you might not like them, they aren’t what you really want, you’re not sure if they are any good, and if you try them that means you can’t try anything else you might like better).

Do you buy the mystery cookies?

Are you happy with your results? Are you pleasantly surprised, majorly disappointed, or left thinking “meh”?

Are you still with me or have you given up already to go buy your dream cookies?

Now, switch out the word “cookies” above for “clients”.

Which one made you happier?

I wish this was more obvious so I’ll spell it out here.
You can figure out what you want (ideal cookies/clients) and pursue that clearly with everything you do supporting that mission.
OR
You can flounder around with mystery cookies/clients and getting wishy-washy results (mystery cookies that aren’t exactly what you wanted).

It’s your choice. The difference between the two is how much clarity you have around what you want.

Ignore the mystery cookies.

Just because the mystery cookies exist, doesn’t mean you should try them.

In this case, just because live video is the latest social media trend doesn’t make it an automatic home run for your business.

(I hear my mother saying: Just because someone else jumped off a bridge and survived, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!)

Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. What’s my reason for doing video?

If you said:

  • “because someone said I should”, ask the question above again and find a better answer. That’s the worst foundation to build any marketing action upon and I can’t watch you do it.
  • “I don’t know”, keep digging until you figure out why you want to do videos.
  • “because it’s a great way to reach my ideal clients, get them to know me, like me, trust me, and eventually work with me”, congratulations, move on to the next question.

2. Do I like being on video?
3. Do I have something that I can talk about on video without compliance issues, and HIPPA concerns?
4. Do my prospective clients watch videos/want to watch videos about my topic?
5. Can I make a video easily, imperfectly, without investing a ton of time, money, and energy into it if it doesn’t work out?
If you answered “yes” to questions 2 through 5, keep reading. If not, you need more clarity around which tactics will reach your target market and video might not be the right fit for you. Stick with the fundamentals of networking for now.

Before you record a video, figure out…

Where will you share your videos?
Are you putting them on your website? Social media?

Who will watch your videos?
Are they for your prospects, your clients, or you referral partners?

What format makes the most sense?
Are you making a video recording, or hosting a live video where people can interact? How will your ideal clients watch it, when, where? Do they want to see a recording on their own time? And will they actually make time to watch it?

How long does your video need to be?
Short videos are great when you want to keep people’s attention. New studies are showing that live videos are better when they are longer so that people can come and go as they please.

What do you want to say?
You need a simple script that lists the bullet points you want to cover, without being something that you read.
What information do you want to share with your audience without sounding like a robot? Don’t read every word. Your audience can tell when you aren’t being authentic.

What actions do you want your viewers to take?
Have a call to action at the end. Do you want them to email you? Visit your website? Download something cool? Sign up for a call with you?

There are a lot of options out there for how to market your business. You need to get clear on which ones make the most sense to support you in reaching your goals.

Video can be an amazing tactic that attracts a lot of ideal clients for the right type of business. But before you test it out, you need to be strategic about why you want to do video and if it makes sense to attract YOUR ideal clients.

If you need more help finding and attracting your ideal clients, schedule a free clarity call with me and let’s figure out where you’re stuck and what you can do to move forward in your business before investing in a tactic that might get you generic results instead of the best “cookie” you’ve ever had.

For more marketing tips, or if you’d just like to see the handful of live videos I’ve done so far, visit my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SimplifyYourMarketing/.

Are you having fun in your business?

I grew up in a pretty serious household, where fun was not really embraced or encouraged, and frequently inappropriate in a “knock it off” or “quit goofing around” kind of way. We rarely broke out into spontaneous fun as a family, and unless I was playing by myself, on vacation, or at a friend’s house, my fun was structured or scheduled. Once in a blue moon, spontaneous fun could slip into our home, but it was more likely to be a strategically planned surprise party, or a hot air balloon ride at five in the morning after waiting six months for the weather conditions to be perfect.

(Go ahead and laugh at the pixie cut and the poor image quality. This was 1997 people. Nothing was digital or in high-definition… thank goodness!)

hot air balloon ride fun

There was something about fun that made it feel like a dark cloud of guilt hovered nearby, ready to shut things down in case our intoxicating levels of joy reached dangerous heights. That’s not to say I didn’t have any fun growing up or that I endured a miserable childhood. I just didn’t have parents who had time or the desire to play games, or chase after me on playgrounds. They were busy being successful so that my brother and I could have the latest and greatest things that made us cool, and accepted, at school.

I was taught that life was pretty serious and I looked down upon anyone who goofed off. Serious, serious, serious. That’s why I was on the honor roll.

Am I having fun in my business?

In my business, I’ve found a bigger, deeper lesson unfolding as I strive to enjoy what I do, find fulfillment in working with my clients, and help them make small changes in their businesses that have a big impact, all while laughing and having fun along the way.

Serious, serious, serious has been scratched out and replaced with fun, fun, fun.

There is so much to be serious about in life and I’m doing my best to inject business with less serious ways of achieving success and more ways of having fun while figuring out what works best for you in your business.

Kind of like when my high school science teacher brought in a container of liquid nitrogen and instantly turned a thawed hot dog into a frozen stick that shattered when you hit it with a hammer. (Anyone remember that? Here’s a video of Mr. Wizard and a student shattering a hot dog at 4:38: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJAG7GcQEI)

Give me the magic formula!

As entrepreneurs, we want the magic formula to be given to us so that we can go through the motions, take the necessary action steps, and *POOF* become successful. After all, that’s what is seems like is happening to the “overnight success” stories shared by the media. What we often don’t see or hear about are the failures (experiments) those entrepreneurs tried before finding out what worked for them.

In April’s Real Simple magazine (ironically), there is a story featuring a lawyer, Mae Tai O’Malley, who started her own law firm for women with kids who needed flexible schedules. In it she says, “I started at a large, traditional law firm. Later I worked part-time for various technology companies. I got asked to do some work for Goggle in 2006. I had three kids at that point and couldn’t take on all the work, so I thought, I’ll just hire one other mom. In looking for that person, I met a number of attorneys. That was the start of Paragon.” She’s now got 70 employees. *POOF* Success!

Real simple, right? All fun and games.

I call bullshit.

While I love that she’s rocking it, finding life balance, and helping other moms have fulfilling careers, I’m annoyed that the article doesn’t mention any of her struggles, the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, or the fact that her ego was likely in the back seat telling her how awful she was, explaining how it wasn’t going to work out, and asking her who she was to be doing this work.

After you’ve been in business a few years(or a few hours, really), you know better. You quickly realize that the article might paint a picture of rainbows and butterflies, but her reality was closer to changing diapers and wiping spit-up off her favorite Armani suit as she passed the kids to her nanny and hoped her cell phone held enough charge to last through the meeting until she could found a place to plug it in.

Sadly, there is no magic formula, that’s not how it works, and our overblown expectations can often lead us down a trail of disappointment with a strong desire to give up our passions and get a J-O-B instead of struggling through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

We need to face the fact that owning our own business is more of a personal journey of growth than anything else.

It’s not about being serious, following some formula, and doing it alone for fear of showing weakness.

Entrepreneurship is about learning to trust our intuition, going after what we want, surrounding ourselves with the people who can help us get where we want to go, and seeking the help and guidance we need to get there… while having fun on the journey.

It’s about finding the clarity we need to move forward in our business instead of comparing ourselves to everyone around us and what we think we should be doing.

It’s about doing what works best for us to support our goals and learn the lessons we need to learn in this lifetime.

How can you have more fun in your business?

What can you do today to have more fun in your business?

Maybe you take a Friday off each month to enjoy a spa day with your best friend. Or you visit a new park each month with a good book and a sack lunch to explore your city and inhale fresh air. Maybe you do something that scares you and sign up to speak at an event you’ve never been to, or attend a conference that sounds cool. Maybe you have a dance party to celebrate every new client who hires you, every testimonial that comes in, or every time money enters your bank account.

If you like talking to people on the phone, maybe you invite people you network with to have a free call with you. Love food? Schedule a weekly lunch date at your favorite restaurants. If you like dogs, get out of the office and ask if someone wants to meet at a dog park to network. Sure it sounds crazy to do business at the dog park, but it would be memorable and could be fun.

Personally, I like talking with people about their businesses and the challenges they face so I invite them to hop on a free call with me. We get to know a bit more about each other, we share ideas, frequently figure out easy solutions to their most pressing issues, and some of them end up working with me or referring clients my way.

That’s my idea of fun.

It’s not about “making the sale” and “pressuring them to commit”.

It’s about making connections, being of service, and offering to help.

Once you figure that you, you’ll find that you’re having a lot more fun in your business.

What are you waiting for? Let’s have some fun!

Schedule a free clarity call with me here: http://simplifyyourmarketing.com/clarity/

Making Deeper Networking Connections

Do you like networking? Or see it as a necessary evil?

I talk a lot about the importance of networking, and I know that while it may come naturally to some, networking often makes people extremely uncomfortable.

What I’ve learned over the years is that networking isn’t really about selling yourself to everyone you meet. Instead, it’s about meeting new friends, making connections with people on a deeper level, having meaningful conversations, and learning about one another so you can genuinely help one another.

Networking

You won’t be a good match for many of the people you meet. Maybe you don’t need another lawyer, real estate broker, insurance representative, or  business coach in your contact list. Then again, maybe you do.

By networking one-on-one with the people you meet, you have the opportunity to make deeper connections, form more lasting bonds, and create loyal referral partners who will get to know, like, and trust you.

Not all of the relationships you cultivate will turn into referrals or end up as clients, but that isn’t the point. The point is, by making deeper connections with the people we meet, we can be present in the moment, honoring our human experiences, and learning to enjoy the company of one another unconditionally.

Once you connect with the people you meet unconditionally, you become irresistible.

Once your intentions are purely for the purpose of helping others instead of pushing your services, you become a trusted asset in their network.

Once you let go of the need to SELL and lead with your need to SERVE, everything else falls into place.

Like many things in business, what we think is the magic pill or the winning formula is actually just a diversion. What truly works is often counter intuitive, seemly impossible, and yet, surprisingly effective.

What can you do today to set the foundation for making a deeper connection with someone you know?

To learn more ways you can improve your networking game, register now for a free, 3-part video series on How to Network When You Hate Networking. I’ve done several of these trainings in person and have condensed the key learnings into 15-minute videos filled with tips on Where to go, Who to meet, and What to say at your next networking opportunity to make the time you spend networking much more effective and enjoyable.

The videos will be available March 15th so mark your calendar, and register here.