What is the #1 Way to Build Your Business?

SIMPLE. . .

You can build your business, increase your influence, and grow your income easily by growing one of your best business assets . . . your email list.

 

Your email list is one of the most valuable resources in your entire business. And, finding the right subscribers is as easy as making a few subtle shifts in your overall business strategy.

And people ask me all the time…

Do I REALLY need to work on building my list?  Even if I’m building my social media presence?

And the short answer is . . .

YES!

 

What if I don’t have a list?

Start building your list.

What if I already have a list of 10,000?

Build your list.

What if I already have a list of 100,000?

Build your list.

The answer is the same for EVERYONE.

The bottom line is, the health of your business (and my business!) is directly connected to the size and strength of our email list. 

And for the record…

We have worked directly with clients who have social media accounts with MILLIONS of followers.  And I can without a shadow of a doubt tell you this…

I would take an engaged email list of 10,000 over a Facebook audience of 500,000 (even if it’s an engaged audience) ANY day.

And I would take that same list of 10,000 over an Instagram audience of 1,000,000 as well.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are advantages to growing your social media audience.  But for direct sales, the email list wins every time.

So the next logical question is, where do you start with your list building efforts?

Here’s what I like to do..

Brainstorm a big list of external problems – as many as possible.


I would literally take out a sheet of paper and I would brainstorm a whole bunch of problems that your market is experiencing.  

Think about your potential customers looking at Google or YouTube.  What would they be typing in?  What are they searching for?  What problems are they seeking solutions for?

Brainstorm as many different external problems as possible. The bigger the list, the better. Aim for ten different problems, but if you can go beyond ten to twenty or thirty different problems, that’s even better!

Then. . .

Offer a high-quality piece of content that solves one of those problems.

 

All you need to do now is create an opt-in magnet, or lead gen tool, or list builder, whatever you want to call it – but it’s essentially something that will help to solve their problem and move them forward.  It’s all about helping them make progress.  And you’ll give them this opt-in magnet in exchange for their  email address.

 

Again, this isn’t super complex. First step is to take one of those problems. Create a P.D.F. document that outlines a solution – BOOM. There’s your lead magnet. And once you have one, rinse and repeat by creating multiple lead magnets for all the various problems you brainstormed earlier.

Make sense?

Now here’s another idea… you can also . . .

Create list building events.

 

Is there a way that you can bring the collective wisdom of a whole bunch of thought leaders in your market together to share some ideas around one core idea?

For example, not long ago, I reached out to some of my friends, who are online marketing influencers—people like Russell Brunson, Jeff Walker, and Amy Porterfield, and we held a live event called Marketing Forecast Live.

 

I asked two questions.  That’s all they answered. Then we combined their answers into one heck of an awesome P.D.F. document where we presented the experts view on the up and coming trends in marketing.  Next, we started posting and driving traffic to that through ads. And in the end, we raised a bunch of money for a great cause and ultimately added thousands of names to our email list.

Last and most important. You need to …

Be intentional about building your list ALL – THE – TIME.

 

You’ve got to be intentional about building your list. The reality is. . .  very few people do this on a regular basis, and so, I want to change that for you.

I want you to focus on building your list – and I want you to make time for it on your calendar.  The challenge is, if you don’t put it on your calendar, it will get pushed to the backburner – because list building is important, but not urgent.

Time to crank up the urgency.  Put it on your calendar.  Schedule time for it.

Take out the old calendar and mark a date on a particular month when you’ are going to have a new lead magnet finished.

As you begin thinking about your new list builder, I thought about how I could help make this even easier for you.

So, I’ve put together a checklist to help you think through ideas you can run with right away.  It’s called the 4 Step Checklist for Low Stress List Building. And you can get it free by clicking below.

Enjoy!

P.S.  Yes… I actually do the things I suggest you do 🙂  That’s why I created this checklist… to help you jump start your list building efforts by mapping it out step-by-step.  Click below to get it TODAY!

All of us want to live a life that matters.

Ideally, we want to look back at the end of the year and know that we’ve done everything possible to reach our potential.

But, how do we make that happen?

From my experience, if there are gaps between where you are and where you want to be, it helps to get clear on your process for making progress.  Because if you aren’t where you want to be, chances are, your process is broken.

And, if you have a process that is somewhat working, knowing how to improve it so that it helps you knock it out of the park, can be a real game changer.

That’s certainly how it was for me.

I had never been taught how to do “goal setting”.  So I would just read blog posts and listen to what other people were doing and then piece something together.  It was basically a mess of tips and tricks – definitely not a proven process.

Then a few years ago, my friend and former business partner, Michael Hyatt, mentioned that he wanted to share his year end process with the members of a membership that we had built together.   I thought it sounded like a great idea and the more we thought about it, the more we realized that this was more than just “one lesson”.  And long-story short, it blossomed into a course called 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever.

Now here’s the interesting part…

After we filmed all the course content, I actually went through the materials myself. In fact, my wife and I did it together.  And by intentionally going through the lessons together,  EVERYTHING changed.

One of the first things I learned from Michael was how to set compelling goals. In order to do this, it helps to know your ‘Why’.

I remember Gail Hyatt (Michael’s wife) once telling me, “When you lose your why, you’ll lose your way”.

That’s because . . .

Your Why Brings Your Goal to Life

 

And I remember the first time my wife, Amy, and I sat down to work through Michael’s process together. It was such an eye opener.

When we were finished we had such clarity about the deeper meaning behind all that we wanted to accomplish.  It wasn’t just “to make more money” or “to spend more time with the kids”.  The meaning was much deeper.  It became “to have more money to give to people and causes we’re passionate about” and “to become the biggest positive influence in shaping our kids attitude and perspective”.  That shift was directly connected to the “why”.

And when you know your ‘Why’, your goals become more exciting.

So let me bring it back to you…

Do you know the ‘Why’ behind your goals?

If not, start there.  Otherwise, your goals will become boring words on a page… and you’re much less likely to do anything about them.

Speaking of keeping things exciting . . .

One of the things I find challenging is that I love to set BIG goals… but in the past, I found it hard to know where to get started. And it meant I didn’t end up doing anything. I became stuck 

So . . . I learned to

1)Break Big Goals Down into Smaller Little Goals

 

During 2016, this was SUPER important for me. And truth be told, there were still things I wanted to do, but couldn’t squeeze them all in. But, none of them would have happened had I not broken it down.

For example, I decided that I was going to start a new company teaching everything I knew about launching, growing, and scaling a membership site.  And I had BIG financial goals that I wanted to hit.

But staring at the big financial goals just made it feel out of reach.  

However, once I started to break things down, it became more manageable.  

First I needed to get experience teaching the content.  So I started hosting small workshops.  And filling them became a smaller goal.

Next I needed to get affiliate partners on board to promote the course when it was ready.  So that became another smaller goal.  

Then it was preparing the launch of the course.  Then the course content.

Everything was broken down and little by little, it all started to come together.  And the punchline is, not only did we hit our goals, but we far exceeded them.

I also know the value that comes from only focusing on a few things and doing them really well. So, I’ve learned that it is super valuable to eliminate the excess and first just focus on the essentials.

2)Focus on Fewer Things for Bigger Momentum

 

For me, this is one of THE hardest strategies to implement.

Why?

Because as an entrepreneur, new, exciting opportunities are EVERYWHERE.  And I’m drawn to them like a magnet. It makes the elimination process difficult.
Elimination is hard, but it’s necessary.

And that leads us to . . .

3)Keep Your Eyes on Your Dreams All Year Long

 

One of the little tricks I learned from Michael was to keep my eyes on those dreams all year long.

He taught me that it is super important to keep your goals present. You’ve got to keep them in front of you at all times.

So, one of the things that I did was turn my phone wallpaper into a daily reminder.   In fact, here is a screenshot of the 2016 goals I was telling you about earlier:

By doing this, I would see the goals multiple times a day, right?  That little wallpaper enabled me to keep those goals in front of me ALL THE TIME.

So, that’s a little hack I recommend for you to do too.  Because when you do this, every time you open your phone, your goals will be there to remind you of where you are headed.

There are so many wonderful things I learned from Michael Hyatt when it comes to setting and achieving goals.  But two of the big ones are:

  1. Know your ‘Why’ behind each goal
  2. Keep your goals front and center

Now here’s the thing…

This is just the beginning.  That’s why I am SO excited that you are going to have a chance to learn from him too! His book, Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals is coming out on January 2nd. It’s an achiever’s guide to living a life that matters and it teaches you how you can live to your full potential.

And it’s also the process that I’ve used the last 4 years to set myself up for a big year.

I encourage you to check it out. I believe it will be a game changer for you. I know it was for me.

Take a look at Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals  and get your copy today.

How do you know when to just give up on an idea?

Sometimes in business we get stuck.  And being stuck for a while can make you feel like a failure. It may seem as though you’ve had countless ideas, but no progress beyond that.

When this happens, we say things to ourselves like, “I’m trying to build my tribe. I’m blogging. I’m reaching out on social media. I’m trying all kinds of things and it’s going nowhere!”

It’s not a fun place to be. It makes you feel as though everything you’ve tried is coming up short.

Trust me when I say this, we have all been there.  The early stages of growing our business is hard!

It can be really hard. And those of us who have been in business for a while often forget just how difficult it is in the beginning to build momentum.

But, regardless of  whatever stage we are in of growing our business, the most powerful force we can have on our side is… momentum.

When you’ve got momentum on your side, everything becomes easier.  In fact, you can do things completely “wrong” in some cases, and still come out on the winning side – all because you’ve got momentum propelling your forward.

So the question becomes…

What’s the easiest way to build your momentum?

I’m going to tell you 🙂

You ready?

Write this down…

Help people with a specific problem.

 

The fastest way to build momentum

is to solve a specific problem.

 

One of the things that I always advise, is for you to first identify the specific problem that you are solving for your market.

Try to get really specific about the problem. How will somebody in your market describe that problem they are experiencing?

People are always looking for a solution to their most pressing problem. And when you become “the” person who solves that problem, guess what happens?  

You start gaining momentum… quickly.  Business starts coming to you vs. you trying to chase it down.

So what solution do you have for someone else’s pain?

And here’s a VERY important distinction…

 

Be sure your solution aligns with the client’s problem

 

More often than not, when it comes to identifying whether an idea is good or whether it’s bad, make sure that you’ve got alignment around the solution you’re providing with the problem that people are experiencing.

I have worked with clients many times where they’ve had a product that just wasn’t resonating with their audience for whatever reason. It just was not getting the traction that they were looking for.

That didn’t mean the product was bad. It meant that they were not marketing it in a way that resonated with the audience which they were intending to serve.

So, their messaging was out of alignment.

 

Use the language that people use to describe their problem

 

There are a couple of ways I look to get my message in alignment. I like to use surveys.  Then I look at the results and look at the words my market is using to describe their problems.  So surveys are my first choice.

If I can’t do a survey for some reason (like when you’re in the very early stages and you don’t yet have an audience to survey), I dive into the comments on related blogs or forums.  And when I’m combing through these comments, I’m looking to find the language that people are using to describe their problem.

For example, if I was in the “parenting niche”, one of the problems that I know young parents might be experiencing could be related to getting their toddler to sleep at night (ask me how I know this could be a problem for young parents!  LOL).

So I would do a simple Google search like this:

And from there I’d pick a result and starting digging.

In the example above, I could see a forum thread right away where someone was describing the issue she was having with her toddler.

So I clicked on it and look what I found:

There is SO much gold in that response.

This woman not only describes the problem she is having (took the dummy away… now child is not sleeping and is crying out “I need you Mummy”).

But she then describes the ripple effect of that problem (her day time sleep is messed up)… and she is taking over an hour to fall asleep.

Of which…

This woman said “I feel like I have failed her”.

Ouch.

But that pain is real right?

I mean I can totally relate to that tension.

And more over, as a parent with young kids I can TOTALLY relate to when she said “I am desperate to give it back to her but I know that is not right either”.

TIMEOUT.

This forum post is ABSOLUTE gold.

Seriously.

From a copywriting standpoint, we have everything we need.

We have a description of the external problem (the thing they want solved).  In this case, “get my toddler to sleep”.

We have the “costs” associated with that problem.  In this example it’s her child not getting rest, constant crying, routines been thrown off and the time it’s now taking to sort it all out.

And we also have the “internal problem”… meaning, the mental and emotional costs associated with this issue (ex. “I feel like I failed her”).

Plus there are SO many other nuggets or marketing angles we could run with – all based on this one response.   

And this is where the magic begins…

When you start using this language to reflect back the problem to your market, they instantly feel understood.  And furthermore, when you describe the solution you’re offering using the same language, you begin creating MASSIVE momentum.

It almost sounds too simple right?

(and it is).

But most business owners NEVER do this kind of research.  They “assume” they know.  

Big mistake.

But if you take a little time on the front end to get intimately familiar with how your market describes their problems, you’re going to begin gaining momentum.  Because when they see your materials, they’ll be instantly attracted to it.  They’ll feel like “you know them” – which you do.

And they’ll feel compelled to what you’re offering because it solves their specific problems.

 

The right problem, with the right solution, described in the right way, equals a home-run, winning combination.

 

Now, if, after doing that, you find that things still aren’t happening, then you may want to look elsewhere.  That’s when you move on.  

Make sense?

Listen, it’s hard to move on.  Especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into your idea.

But if it’s not a problem that your market is looking to solve, you’ll ALWAYS be fighting an uphill battle.

And at the end of the day, that’s not fun.  That makes doing business hard. And there are already all kinds of challenging things about running your own business.  So if you’ve got your messaging dialed in and your market is still not responding, then it’s time to move on.  You’re going to save yourself a lot of heartache and headache.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t actually help people in the way that you want.  But maybe you can do it by focusing on another angle.

I’m not saying that what you’re doing is wrong and I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. I said first you want to make sure that you are not out of alignment in the way that you’re describing your solution with the problems that people have.

But, if there is alignment there, and you’re still not getting traction, then maybe you want to move on to something else.

First and foremost, check to see if your message is out of alignment, because this happens a lot.

Adjusting the alignment of your message can make all the difference in terms of the traction you get when you’re marketing your products and services.

So…

 

Before giving up on an idea, here are the things I suggest you do:

 

  1. Identify a specific problem to solve.
  2. Ensure there is alignment between the problem you’re solving and the solution you provide.
  3. Make sure your messaging is in alignment with the way your clients describe their problem – AKA, do your research and use THEIR language.

If you’ve taken these three steps and you are still not getting the attention of your market, it’s time to move on to something else.

Be sure to follow these steps first though, because so often all that is needed is to bring your solution and your messaging into alignment with what the market is seeking.

What steps do you take when you’re not getting the support from your spouse or significant other when it comes to your entrepreneurial path?

First and foremost, I’m not a relationship expert. But I can share with you my experience of being a happily married entrepreneur for 10 years.
In the beginning, my wife, Amy, didn’t have any interest in business. In fact, she couldn’t stand it when I would come home full of excitement regarding my business. She had zero interest in “talking shop”.
Now, it’s much different. She absolutely loves business and has swung in the complete opposite direction. For example, I’m talking shop all day long at the office. When I get home, I don’t always want to talk about business, but now she does. So, we are still trying to find the balance LOL. But I think we’re pretty darn close.
Here’s the good news…
We didn’t just “arrive” at this point. We intentionally took a few action steps that made a big difference.
Starting with action step #1…

1) Create space to pursue your individual interests.

In the early days of our marriage, one of the things that Amy and I did really well, was to give each other the space to pursue the things that we were passionate about – without judgment. This is SO important.
For example, Amy absolutely loves to travel. If she is in any one place for more than two months at a time, she starts to get itchy feet. That girl LOVES to travel (and rarely ever does she like going back to the same place!). And some of the places she wants to travel, quite frankly, I don’t want to go (no offense honey 🙂 ).
But, I know it’s important for her. So, we create that container of space so she can still pursue those interests. Every year, she has a “girl’s trip”. Plus, we plan out our family and couple travel well in advance so that she always has something to look forward to.
(and I will admit, she even let’s me pick one trip a year! I told you she was a keeper 😉 ).
Similarly, there are things that I’m passionate about that she has no interest in. For example, I’m a very competitive guy and have played sports all my life (even won 2 National Soccer Championships while at university… ahhh the glory days).
The thing is, I still love to play. And I’ll go to great lengths to play at a high level (I used to drive 140+ minutes round trip twice a week to play a 40 minute game of indoor soccer).
Deep down, she thinks that’s crazy.
Me? That’s absolutely normal! LOL
But here’s the important lesson…
She gives me that container of space to pursue my individual interests without judgement.
We give each other that freedom. And we know it’s important for each other’s sanity so we are intentional about making sure the other person is pursuing those things.
Which brings me to action step #2…

2) Create space to be together.

See how this works?
The first action step is for you to do your thing and your spouse or partner to do theirs.
Now I’m suggesting you also do the opposite by intentionally crafting time to do things you both enjoy.
Sounds obvious right?
But it’s not.
You’ve got to make time to just be a loving husband or wife doing things that you both enjoy together. That may mean turning your entrepreneurial brain off for a while so you can actually be with each other.
If your spouse isn’t supportive in your business adventures, they may be overwhelmed by you talking about it non-stop.
I get it.
When you are starting out, in the midst of growing, or even if you have a thriving company it’s all you want to talk about, right? It’s exciting. Things are happening!
There’s opportunities and there’s people you’re meeting and all that good stuff.
And I understand, when you’re excited, you want to share it with your loved ones as much as possible. But the reality of it is, if they’re not excited about it . . . it can just be too much.
This even extends beyond your spouse. It extends into friend groups as well.
It took a while for me to get comfortable with the fact that I can talk about certain things with certain friends and I talk about other things with other friends. That’s because I know that some friends will not connect or relate to some of the things that interest me but they may connect with other interests I have.
Same goes with your partner. If they aren’t into business, talking non-stop about business is going to drive them crazy.
So identify those environments and those groups where you feel comfortable and safe to have those kinds of discussions and don’t push it with the people who it may not be ideal with.
And most importantly, make the time to actually do things you both enjoy.
For example, remember when I said I love sports?
Well there is one sport that Amy does enjoy… downhill skiing. In fact, she’s VERY good at it and would kick my butt every time if we ever had an “official” race. So every year, we make a point to go skiing together. Even though I’m an average skier, she puts up with me on the slopes because doing it together and being active outside is where the connection is made.
Another thing we do together is help others in our community. It fills both our hearts when we can help others in need. So we regularly pursue activities within our community where we get to do this together (and with the kids). And doing this creates GREAT conversation and a joint sense of gratitude for what we have in our lives.
Now I have one final example for you… and this one is a duesy (we’ll see if you get the lesson behind the lesson). You ready?
Ok here goes…

Amy and I also love real estate. So another thing we’ll commonly do together is take a drive and look at houses. And when we do, guess what happens?
We start dreaming together. We discover what each other likes and doesn’t like. And through this conversation, the dreams start to come to life (HINT HINT).
And guess what happens when your spouse who doesn’t like business starts dreaming about possibilities?
The inevitable question…
“What would need to happen for us to make this a reality?”
SHHHHBAAAMMM
That’s the ticket my friend.
That was the question that sparked the entrepreneurial bug within Amy.
Because once she began dreaming, she realized that the most effective way to bridge the gap between our current reality and the one we were dreaming about was through our business.
Now I’m not saying this will magically happen for you. But what I am saying is that doing things together gives you the opportunity to have conversation. And if you sprinkle in some conversation about what you’d like your future to look like… well… you just never know what could happen 😉
Here’s the takeaway…
You want to make sure that you A, allocate time together, and B, make sure it’s time sharing the things that you both love to do and talk about.
(and be sure to slip in a conversation about your “perfect future”… you can thank me later 🙂 ).
So here’s the third action step…

3) Surround yourself with people who are on the same path.

You should have an outlet where you can talk shop, trade strategies back and forth and build each other up.
I’ve been in a Mastermind in some form or fashion for almost 15 years.
Some were paid groups. Some were peer groups. Some were big. Some were small.
Some met more regularly than others, but it didn’t matter. The value of the Mastermind comes from being surrounded with people who you feel safe sharing your entrepreneurial experiences with. This is a group where you are able to ask questions and get feedback. They become your sounding board because they “get it”. They’re in the trenches too. And that support is necessary for you to be able to move things to the next level.
I can tell you that my business would not have grown anywhere near the pace that it has grown had it not been for a Mastermind in which I participated.
If you’re not in a Mastermind yet or you haven’t found a group of other entrepreneurs where you can exchange ideas, I highly recommend that you do so.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult.
There are plenty of paid masterminds (I run one called the IMPACT Mastermind). But if you don’t join a paid group, just get together with a peer group. The key is, you want to be organized so that you meet on a regular basis.
Trust me when I say, you need that supportive environment… regardless of whether your spouse is on board or not. That group of people will become your cheerleaders. They are going to support you and help get you to the next level.
And when that happens, guess what else will happen? There’s a good chance you can win your spouse over then too – especially if you’ve had that allocated spouse time 😉

Remember these steps for creating a supportive relationship with your spouse:

  1. Create space to pursue your individual interests. It’s important to take time to do the things you love to do.
  2. Create space to be together. You need time to just be together, doing things that are important to both of you.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are on the same path. This gives you an outlet to get support and talk shop without overwhelming your loved ones.

Your turn: How are you creating a supportive environment?

It’s International Women’s Day and I couldn’t be more pumped to celebrate the incredible women in my life and around the globe.

Everything I do in my business revolves around creating freedom to spend time with my beautiful wife and daughter (and my lovely son too, of course).

So you could say women are at the centre of my universe!

Today I’d like to celebrate International Women’s Day by sharing some of my favourite advice from 10 inspirational female entrepreneurs who I’ve had the privilege of working with.


Carrie Green

As the founder of Female Entrepreneur Association, Carrie Green is a huge advocate of women’s success in life and business. Carrie supports female entrepreneurs from all around the globe and I’m very proud to know her as a client and friend.

I’d also like to congratulate Carrie on the release of her new book, She Means Business.

Carrie started a successful business while she was in university, however…

I wasn’t remotely passionate about what I was doing. I loved learning all about marketing and building an online business, but I felt really empty inside. I also felt really lonely. I didn’t know any like-minded people. That was when the idea popped into my head to create my own community and get to know other women who were building businesses.”

Did you get that? Carrie was craving a community where she could interact with likeminded people… so she built that community herself!

Needless to say her community was a success. Now Carrie supports female entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Create the community you want to be a part of. 

Carrie’s website: femaleentrepreneurassociation.com


Kris Carr

Kris Carr’s life as she knew it was changed forever when she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable, stage IV cancer. But she didn’t waste any time wallowing.

Instead, Kris embarked on a journey of mental and physical healing and documented every step of the way, a journey that has involved 5 best-selling books and an award-winning film, among other accolades. Heck, Kris has even been featured on Oprah! (how cool is that?)

14 years since her diagnosis, Kris continues to kick butt in her business, lead her wellness revolution (and her die hard fans – me included!), while staying hyper focused on teaching others how they can thrive too.

The other thing I love about this woman is how down to earth and humble she is.  Despite all her success, she’s real (and that’s why we all love her).  After every call or chat I end up giggling like a school girl, laughing hysterically or walking away a little inspired.  She’s definitely one of my favorites.

Kris gives a lot of incredible advice but here’s some that stands out for me:

“Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do. There, I said it. Your purpose is actually quite simple, it’s to awaken. To discover and nurture who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. The more you do this, the more aware and present you become, which creates more harmony in your life… Your self-worth has nothing to do with your craft or your calling and everything to do with how you treat yourself.” 

Love yourself.

Kris’s website: kriscarr.com


Zim Ugochukwu

Few people could be more qualified to run a website that supports travellers than Zim Ugochukwu.

Zim was born in Mankato, Minnesota to two Nigerian immigrants. She’s lived in New Delhi, Greensboro, Bangalore, San Francisco, and Dharamshala, and currently resides in Chicago.

She’s cloned genes as a biologist, run a national anti-tobacco campaign, helped open a Civil Rights Museum, and traveled 90% of Asia.

Now Zim is the CEO of Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform for travellers of colour that supports over 2 million travellers a month. She’s featured as one of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 and is working every day to provide new tools, resources, and experiences for travellers.

One of Zim’s special abilities is truly understanding her audience and how to serve them:

We spent most of our startup life building our audience, understanding their needs, desires, fears, pain points, aspirations & learning about who they want to become. We’ve created customer avatars for each product and gave them names. If you want to be successful at selling anything, you have to prioritize getting to know your customer — intimately.”

That’s SO important. If the number one aim of your business isn’t to know and serve your audience, you don’t have a business, you have a profit scheme.  #Boom.

Know your customer – intimately.

Zim’s websites: zimism.com | travelnoire.com


Melissa Lanz

Melissa Lanz is someone who’s business has actually affected my life personally. You see, my wife and I, we like eating healthy food… cooking, not so much.

That’s why I was ecstatic when I discovered Melissa’s business, The Fresh 20, which delivers weekly meal plans to families that are affordable, healthy, and easy to follow.

Melissa is a grassroots entrepreneur who started as a stay-at-home mom and took her business all the way to the top without any budget for marketing. She’s a perfect example of someone who identified a problem or a need and come up with a simple solution that her customers couldn’t wait to share with family and friends.

Melissa talks about how she marketed her membership business in the early days:

We went to events in the food industry or events in the wellness industry and literally kept telling everybody about what we were doing. Because if you can’t go out and talk about your membership and let the world know what you’re doing and how you’re solving other people’s problems, then you can’t attract your subscribers, right?”

That’s so obvious but you’d be surprised how many people miss this. You have to TALK about what you’re doing! You can’t expect the world to just show up for your business, especially in the beginning.

Go out and talk to your potential customers. 

Melissa’s websites: www.melissalanz.com | www.thefresh20.com


Susan Garrett

Like myself, Susan Garrett designed her business to give her more time with her family.

She was (and still is) one of the world’s top dog agility trainers.  But that used to mean she would spend most of her time travelling the world teaching others how to train their dogs.  That all changed one day when her husband started having heart troubles and Susan realized she didn’t want to spend so much time away from home.

That’s when she transitioned her business to deliver the same trainings online.  Now, she’s built a very successful business providing courses and membership for her audience – all of which has allowed her to serve more dog owners around the world while having a LOT more time at home. With her vast expertise and her community-building skills, Susan’s membership, SusanGarrettDogAgility.com, quickly became a massive hit with her audience.

In fact, Susan initially launched her membership to a very small list of only 1800 people and 1100 signed up right away… that’s a 60% paid conversion rate! That goes to show just how much Susan is loved and respected by her tribe.

Susan’s advice about getting your business off the ground:

That’s what people are afraid of, they want to get things perfect. I just wanted to get something out there. I was going to launch to a small group of people that knew my language so I could just get started.

That’s so important! Whether it’s a membership or any other sort of business, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect right away. Get started and tweak as you go.

Just get started.

Susan’s website: susangarrettdogagility.com


Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo is one of the most vibrant personalities in the online entrepreneurship world, so there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of her.

Marie’s career path brought her to the corporate world where, like most entrepreneurs, she felt like she didn’t fit in. So she decided to give up the 9-5 security to bartend and wait tables while building her own business from the ground up.

A self-proclaimed “Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur,” Marie’s colourful list of accolades include choreographing hip-hop on MTV, being one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance Athletes, penning an international bestseller, and founding a digital education company named in the Inc. 500. She’s also met with big names including Richard Branson, Oprah, and Tony Robbins.

Marie nurtures a lifelong interest in human potential and helping people succeed. Every day she’s sharing amazing content with her audience to help them reach their full potential.

Marie urges everybody to believe in their own potential and to share that potential with the world:

“I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world.

That includes your unique set of gifts, your personality, your sense of humor and most importantly, your heart. I believe that whether you run your own business or not, a creative and entrepreneurial approach is critical to fully blossom in the modern world and to experience the happiness and fulfillment you deserve.”

Amen to that. There is no perfect image of what an entrepreneur should be. You define your business and your life.  I’ve always admired how Marie has done things her way.  You go girl!

A creative and entrepreneurial approach is critical.

Marie’s website: www.marieforleo.com


Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield is one of the world’s elite social media strategists and online business coaches.

(she’s also pretty hilarious if you can get her to open up 😛 )

Amy had what you might consider a “unique” career path. After her first job out of college – doing event marketing for Harley Davidson – Amy travelled the world with Tony Robbins planning marketing campaigns… what a gig!

But the day eventually came when Amy new she had to do something on her own, so she left Tony’s team to start her own agency. Like many consultants, Amy quickly discovered that meeting clients face-to-face is time consuming and limiting. So she decided to offer her expertise to the public instead.

Now she helps entrepreneurs from all over the world grow their businesses with social media marketing.  And she’s damn good at it as well.

She’s been a great friend over the years and it’s been awesome watching her grow her business and blossom as a leader in the online space.

Amy’s advice for those who are thinking of taking the leap into entrepreneurship is something she learned from Tony Robbins:

“Everything I had only dreamed of was suddenly possible. I just had to get there.

Tony himself taught me one of the most important tactics I’ve ever learned: it’s called ‘Burn the Boats.’ When you want to make something big happen, you have to commit—burn the boats and storm the island. Burn any vessel that could take you backwards or make you change your mind.”

To say that entrepreneurship is a commitment would be a huge understatement. Sometimes in life, you just have to go all-in.

Burn the boats.

Amy’s website: www.amyporterfield.com


Patty Palmer

Patty Palmer’s success story is a very special one to me because I’ve had the honor of working closely with Patty through my TRIBE Training (where I share all of my expertise about launching and growing a successful membership site).

Patty was working as an art teacher when she realized that other art teachers had an ongoing need for lesson plans for their students. So she started her blog, Deep Space Sparkle, and eventually grew that to the point where she had a pretty big business selling PDF lesson plans. But… it was hectic and disorganized and something just didn’t feel right.

About a year after quitting her teaching job to work full time on the website, Patty realized that a membership model was the missing piece for her business.  So she took the plunge and reworked Deep Space Sparkle to include a membership component that automatically delivers lesson plans to art teachers.

Her initial launch of her membership was a huge success… she enrolled over 900 members!  And in less than six months she had over 1800 members.  Crazy right?

A big lesson Patty learned from this process is that being transparent with your customers is crucial:

I had all of these customers who were sensing a change in the website. Things were moving around. They’re like, ‘Patty, what’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘Okay. Here’s the deal. I’m switching to a membership model.’ I went through this process with the customers and I realized I need to get them to be the early adopters, because I wanted them to go on this journey with me.”

By simply being honest with her customers and involving them in the evolution of her business, Patty quickly enrolled hundreds of people in her membership site. Rather than feeling alienated by the changes to her site, Patty made her customers feel included and they rewarded her for it.

Involve your customers in your journey. 

Patty’s website: www.deepspacesparkle.com


Victoria Labalme

Victoria Labalme is a world-class communication coach who has helped me tremendously with my own presentation skills.

Victoria graduated Stanford University and went on gain to two decades of professional show business experience. She’s performed one-woman shows across the USA, appeared at Caroline’s on Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, a TV special with Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keital, 27 television commercials (including a Super Bowl spot), a cameo on “Sex & The City” and more.

It’s her unique show business experience that helped Victoria transition to become one of the world’s top communication coaches. She’s helped bestselling authors, elite executive and entrepreneurs, TED speakers, agencies, Hollywood directors… and little old me 🙂

Her unique blend of performance ability and communication strategy helps her craft presentations that are outstanding and memorable, leaving a lasting impression on audiences everywhere.

Recently she gave a talk of her own at TEDx Santa Barbara. You can watch that talk here.

Victoria’s stand-out advice for me:

“The first thing you want to think about is, ‘how can I help?’ and when you do that, it changes everything.

Whenever you’re nervous on camera or on stage or on a phone call or in front of your team, it’s because you’re thinking about yourself. ‘Am I enough? Am I saying ‘um’ too much?’

But the moment you focus on helping, all of the nervousness drops.”

Focus on helping. 

Victoria’s website: www.victorialabalme.com


Amy McLaren

There is no secret that this female entrepreneur has a HUGE place in my heart.

Why?

Because she’s my wife!

Over the years I’ve witnessed her take her love of travel and education and combine them together to form our charity World Teacher Aid. And through that vision, the charity has raised millions of dollars, providing daily education for thousands and thousands of kids… and in the process, transforming communities all across Kenya.

The crazy part is, Amy never really considered herself “entrepreneurial”.

“Initially I just saw a need. There were so many rural communities full of kids who desperately wanted to learn, but they just didn’t have a school nearby. I knew there had to be a way to bring that to them.”

Here’s the takeaway for all of us…

Wherever there is an unmet need, there is an opportunity. As entrepreneurs, we’re just problem solvers.

Now, Amy is about to start another entrepreneurial venture called TravelThreads.com. It’s a clothing line of unique items for women from around the world. Each are connected to a powerful story.

Look for a need. 

Amy’s websites: www.TravelThreads.com/brave | www.WorldTeacherAid.org

 


 

Your turn: Who are the women that inspire you?

 

 

This morning my heart melted after reading an email.

Quick backstory…

A couple years ago, my wife and I adopted a little boy from South Africa. His name is Samkelo (Sam for short). He’s amazing and after two years, we couldn’t imagine life without him.

 

 

Sam joined our family as a one year old. So for the first year of his life, he lived in an orphanage run by two incredible women (Lynne Ellen Pieterse and Sonia Swinton).

Now, just so you know, this is NOT your typical orphanage. Think about the most loving grandmother you’ve ever come across. Now multiply that by two. Now you’d get a sense of what this orphanage is like.

It’s quite possibly the most loving environment that these kids could be in while waiting for their forever homes.

Needless to say, my wife and I are tremendously grateful for the way they cared for our son during the first year of his life. These ladies and this orphanage will always have a BIG place in our hearts.

Ok, so that’s the backstory.

Now, here’s why my heart melted this morning…

This morning I received an email from the orphanage. They need some financial help and they outlined the specifics of what they need help with (which is good).

And because of the backstory  you just read, you can understand why my wife and I want to continue supporting them (which we typically do each year).

But here’s where my heart melted…

From a marketing perspective, I’m the perfect donor. I’m hyper targeted. I LOVE what they’re doing. And, we have the means to give.

For the most part, their email was great. They outlined the situation and gave specifics for where the money would be going.

HOWEVER…

They were missing THE most important piece to any marketing campaign…

THE CALL TO ACTION!

 

 

So I read the email. I’m ready to give.

But there is no link giving me somewhere to go. There aren’t even any instructions telling me what to do.

The final line was “Any assistance with funding would be greatly appreciated and we are happy to share our records with you if you wish to view our finances.”

Wait a minute.

Where do I go?

What should I do?

How much is needed?

I’m willing to bet they would double or triple the amount of donations they receive from this campaign if they just included a call to action.

You’ve got to tell people what to do. Make it SUPER clear in regards to where you want people to go and what you want them to do.

For example, here’s how I would have adjusted that last line:

 

To continue loving and supporting the kids in our care, we’ve set a goal to raise $10,000 in the next month. But to reach that goal, we need your help.

Simply click the button below, enter the amount you’d like to give and your donation will be sent directly to Baby Hope House. And, if at anytime you’d like see our financial records, please email us directly at [email protected]

[Support Baby Hope House Today]

 

(For the record, you can actually click “Support Baby Hope House Today” above to go to the donation page of their website.)

Do you see the difference?

Without telling people specifically what to do, the reader now has to figure it out for themselves.

And when that’s the case, guess what is likely to happen?

Yup, nothing.

Why?

Because in the midst of trying to figure out how to give, people will get distracted. Like right now for example. My kids just woke up. And now they’re asking for breakfast.

This kind of distraction happens ALL THE TIME. And when it does, inevitably, people will forget to come back and donate.

Now please understand, I’m not picking on this lovely orphanage. I’m just trying to show you (and them) how one simple tweak can make a HUGE difference in the results of a campaign.

And I see this mistake being made all the time in non-profit work (like this) and also in for profit business as well.

Sometimes it has to do with fear about directly asking for the sale.

Other times it’s just not knowing what to say.

But when you’re reviewing your own materials, always ask yourself this…

“What specifically do I want people to do next?”

However you answer that question, make that your call to action. And make the next step clear and obvious.

If you do that, you’ll dramatically increase your results.

Now, I’ve got to make a quick reminder note so that I don’t forget to donate after getting these kids something to eat! :p


 

Some people I spoke with recently were freaked out over the fact that they either got some unsubscribes from their email list or they received negative comments from people in their audience.

Talking to them made me reflect on my early days when I was first building my business, and on one incident in particular that I remember vividly.

I was at a conference. This was way back in 2004 and I was just starting to build my audience; I think I had maybe a few hundred people on my email list at the time.

After emailing my list that morning, almost immediately a few people unsubscribed.

Maybe you’ve been through this and responded differently, but this was my first unsubscribe and I was hypersensitive to it.

It hit me right in the heart.

 

 

I remember coming down from my hotel room down to the main lobby and where the event was and running into a friend of mine named Matt. Matt looked at me and instantly was like, “Dude, what’s wrong?”

Because he could see it in my face. I looked like somebody had just like stabbed me in the heart.

I responded, “Man, I just got an unsubscribe from my email list.”

Matt gave me a strange look and said, “Wait a minute. You got an unsubscribe and this is why you’re so upset?”

I replied, “Yeah, man. I don’t know why they would’ve unsubscribed. I just don’t get it.”

So I was suprised when Matt responded with, “Dude, an unsubscribe is a really good thing.”

“Dude, an unsubscribe is a really good thing.”

I was like, “What are you talking about? No it’s not.”

He’s like, “Yes, it is. Look, if you’ve got an unsubscribe, think of it as like a cleansing process. They’re just somebody who has said, ‘You know what, this stuff isn’t right for me,’ and that’s okay. Because now you’ve got a smaller, tidier list of people who are really into everything that you’re sharing.”

It was an amazing lesson for me because it gave me permission to continue being myself and sharing my message.

Now this is a lesson I try to pass on to others who are having similar experiences.

As business owners, we need to have a thick skin. Not everybody is going to agree with our message or care for what we have to offer.

And that’s okay.

A saying of an early mentor of mine that stuck with me is, “Love me or hate me, there’s no money in the middle.”

 

 

When you stay true to your message and create this kind of divide, it’s actually a really good thing because the people that hang around are going to be true supporters.

I would much rather have a small list of people who love what I have to share than a huge list of people who are indifferent to my message.

Because here’s the thing: When it comes to your marketing, you have to believe.

If you’re sharing content, you have to believe in your message. If you’re selling, you have to believe in your product.

Nobody wants to engage with somebody who isn’t confident in what they’re sharing. Nobody wants to buy from somebody who isn’t confident in what they’re selling.

Would you want to go into surgery with a doctor who was hesitant like that? Heck no. Would you want get into a plane with a pilot who was hesitant about their ability to get to the destination? Heck no.

You have to share your message and your products with confidence. If that sense of confidence turns some people off, that’s totally fine.

What you’re doing is you are getting closer and closer to the people who will really benefit from what you have to share.

If you get unsubscribes it’s a good thing. It just means you’re getting more and more dialed in to the few people who you can really help and serve.

Share with confidence. Create that divide. Identify the people who are truly engaged with what you have to share. Focus on those people and how you can continue to serve them.

You will grow a far bigger business focusing on the people who absolutely love you than you ever will trying to please the people who don’t.