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Overcoming Overwhelm

October 12th, 2010

Fall is here – that exciting, dynamic time of year when we harvest all the good we’ve been working toward this year. However, it’s also a time when the pace of our lives can suddenly ramp up uncontrollably. For many of us, the pace of fall can push our already busy lives over the top and we feel overwhelmed.

Overwhelm is a major obstacle to living our passion and making our unique contribution in our business. When we’re overbooked, overcommitted and overstretched, it’s almost impossible to experience joy. If your life has started to feel like a herd of runaway horses, this month’s article will give you steps to help you take charge of your pace, whatever opportunities or demands come your way this month.

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Life Vision: Is your Business Serving Your Life?

September 17th, 2010

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver

Our business is meant to serve our life. However for that to happen, we first need to get very clear about how we want our lives to be.

What kind of life do you want to create?

As the CEO of your life, one of your most important jobs is to define your life vision. It’s tempting to begin with a picture that’s a practical, predictable continuation of your life so far. Instead, I invite you to design a vision that’s based on what really matters. One that, if you lived it, would be an extraordinary life for you.

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Passion: Your Compass

July 16th, 2010

What in your life are you brilliant at?
In your heart you know what you do best.
Jennifer White

Our number one job as business owners is to discover our passion and then organize our business so that we are doing that most of the time.

Each one of us is born with the ability to be great at something (or several things). We are hard-wired from birth with these unique gifts and they cry out for us to use them. This is our passion, our brilliance, our calling – what we do best and most love doing.

Identifying your passion and putting it to work at the heart of your business is one of the secrets to a thriving and fulfilling business; a business you love, one that’s sustainable and one with endless possibilities.

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Design Your Marketing Engine

June 22nd, 2010

Are your random marketing efforts leaving you exhausted and scattered by disappointing results?

You can end this stressful angst. The key is to build a marketing engine: one that’s unique to you, your business and your ideal clients. Well worth the effort, building a marketing engine will lead to a steady flow of referrals and peace of mind.

An effective marketing engine has two key parts: (1) Where you meet the world and make new connections and (2) How you invest in these relationships to cultivate referrals and business.

Marketing Funnel Diagram

Part 1: Making new connections

The top part of the marketing engine represents where you meet the world and make new connections. Just like a car engine has multiple cylinders, an effective marketing engine has 5-8 “cylinders.” Each one is a way to meet like-minded people, start new relationships and gain permission to continue to connect.

The secret to your engine taking on a life of its own is to base these cylinders on your passion. For example, when I started my business my best natural strengths were coaching, teaching classes, speaking, being in community and expressing ideas in writing. The “cylinders” of my engine, leveraging these strengths, became venues where I could lead classes, participate in communities I believed in, and share tips through a periodic newsletter.

Once the “cylinders” do their work – you’ve connected with people and gained permission to continue to communicate with them – you move to the second part of your marketing engine.

Part 2: Investing in your relationships

The body of your marketing engine is made up of the many ways you invest in and grow these relationships.

A well-designed marketing engine offers multiple tiers of service at different fee levels, such as free, nominal, half-fee and full fee. These integrated services touch people, add real value, and over time build trust in you and the solutions your services provide.

In the early stage of my business, the services at the free level included talks about finding your passion and a complimentary session to experience my coaching. At the nominal fee level, I offered afternoon “mini-retreats” on living with passion. My half- fee service was a coaching group on creating work you love.

Each level of service was a joy to do and genuinely equipped people with inspiration and information. And as I worked with people at each of these levels, they grew to understand how to use me as their coach, which was my full fee level. When a potential client inquired about working together, he or she was already pre-screened as someone who understood and wanted my unique approach and was a pleasure to work with.

Steady flow of clients

Establishing your unique marketing engine changes the marketing game forever. You’ll no longer just be taking scattered actions and hoping for results. Instead, your daily marketing actions will forge a powerful client attraction system.

Your turn

I invite you to look at your business with fresh eyes. What have you established already that could become part of your marketing engine? What would an ideal marketing engine for your services look like? Use the Marketing Engine diagram as a guide and map out your 5-8 cylinders and the multiple ways you’ll invest in and grow your relationships.


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Build a Marketing Engine

May 27th, 2010

“It took me about 18 months
and then the phone started ringing on its own.”

Hearing this was a defining moment for me as a business owner. It was my first year in business and I’d been interviewing a successful colleague about how she’d started her business. When I heard her say her marketing efforts had added up to a steady flow of referrals, suddenly I had hope that I too could succeed with my marketing. I was deeply intrigued. What had made this happen?

Marketing Engine vs. Marketing Efforts

The key is in building a marketing engine that generates inquiries, not just taking scattered marketing efforts.

Random marketing efforts can be exhausting and leave us feeling scattered, and like we’re not getting ahead. Without intentionally building a marketing engine, our marketing efforts feel like a zero-sum game. We’re always at the starting blocks. We’re constantly struggling for the next client.

A marketing engine is like a network of small streams that flow together naturally to form a mighty river, a set of strategies and actions we take consistently. It’s an orchestrated collection of habits and processes that raise our visibility, deepens our credibility and grows relationships of trust with potential clients and people who could refer to us.

Growing a marketing engine brings peace of mind and leads to trust that there will be a steady flow of clients and work. Building an engine requires some work to establish properly, and needs continual injections of high-quality fuel, but once it begins to run, it keeps going. It is possible to build a referral engine that we can depend on, fuel every now and then, and forget about the rest of the time. It takes on a life of its own.

Keys to an effective marketing engine

Your marketing engine will be unique to you, your business and your ideal clients. While no two are alike, there are some common building blocks for success. An effective marketing engine will:

  • Be based on your strengths
  • Have multiple ways to connect with new people
  • Generously share your message and add meaningful value
  • Offer tiered levels of products and services so that there is something for everyone

Just like a car engine has multiple cylinders, an effective marketing engine has 5-8 activities, based on your unique strengths. In the next article, we’ll look more closely at how to choose your cylinders, and how those marketing activities fit into a broader system for cultivating relationships.

Your turn

How much energy has been draining out of your business because of stopping and starting in your marketing? How much more ease, confidence and success could you have if you were running an engine for the continuous flow of clients and referrals?


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