Top Five Questions About Business Building
Building a business as an accidental entrepreneur practice can be tough. The internet is an amazing tool, but it is also a virtual avalanche of conflicting information promising to make everything “easy”, while actually just making you feel ashamed and confused.
If everything is so “easy,” then why does it feel so hard?
It’s not uncommon for the excitement of jumping into business building to turn into total overwhelm and analysis paralysis.
I GET IT.
What you need in place of that information overload is someone who has already done all the reading, taken all the courses, sifted through the nonsense, and come out the other side with a clear understanding – and a track record of success.
MAY I OFFER MYSELF TO YOU FOR THIS PURPOSE?
I’ve had a solopreneur coaching business for many years now. Because I’m an obsessive learner (it’s the only way to get a PhD!), I’ve read the blogs and listened to the podcasts, I’ve invested in online and in-person training courses, and I’ve hired coaches who have taught me a TON about the mechanics of marketing, promotion, and selling. I’ve learned a lot about what works for building a business,
And– this is important too – SO MUCH about what just doesn’t work. And most interestingly, I’ve figured out WHY things work, and why they don’t, so I always know exactly why I’m doing everything in my marketing plan.
This has been a huge relief to me. Yes, there’s still a lot of work to do, and of course, I still make mistakes, but the ship has been righted, and my business has grown.
How to write better copy for my website, profiles, social media posts and marketing materials. And then how to create a “boomerang” so my content comes back to me as leads?
Many people find me because they want to know how they can write copy for their websites, profiles, and social media that will really connect – because, truth be told, most of what experts and helpers write doesn’t do that.
It all comes back to the curse of understanding! When you are an expert at helping people to solve a complex problem, you tend to talk about that problem in a complex way, because you know so much about it.
But when your clients are still in the throes of their problem (“Why do I cry myself to sleep every night?”), they really don’t want to hear the nuts and bolts of your researched, clinical expertise (‘You have referred trauma that asserts itself when you relax before sleep”).
What they want to hear is that you GET IT – that you can help them feel better. And, also incredibly important, you can make them believe things can get better.
How does my mindset impact my business? Can I become a better manager of my time so I can overcome procrastination and prevent burnout?
I find that managing our own minds is the foundational solution to most of our circumstantial worries as business owners and experts. For example, while we are worried about things like “can I get more clients” or “will I make enough money this year” the solution isn’t to convince ourselves that “we can” or that “we will.”
Instead, the best way to soothe ourselves so we can keep chipping away at our business is to develop trust and understanding with ourselves. Specifically, we need to feel grounded in the belief that we can do anything we set out to do as long as we put in the effort, over time, while seeking help. This trust will help us to overcome the worries of today and the new worries that will continue to emerge as your business grows.
How can I parlay my expertise into thought leadership? How can I get quoted, start a podcast, write for publication, and speak?
Usually, 3-6 months after starting our work together people’s businesses begin to pick up… massively. They start to realize that their 1:1 time is much more limited than they originally thought, and this is when people start asking how they can make more money in other ways.
Usually, this becomes a conversation about either becoming a thought leader, designing an online program, or both.
The first step to becoming a thought leader may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t: You need to figure out what you think. What’s your line in the sand?
This goes beyond your niche; this gets into your beliefs. What is your personal and unique take on the controversies in your field? How do you advocate for your tribe?
To get clear on this, both for yourself and for everyone you want to reach, you need to create regular content. Blogs, podcasts, videos – it doesn’t matter what you create, but you need to start the process of honing your voice.
Once you have that, the work begins on getting quoted, guest posting, and getting on stage to share your message. The good news is that once you can name your beliefs and own your voice, it’s actually not hard to get booked. People are always looking for experts who are passionate and persuasive.
Do I need to network? Where should I focus my limited time so I can connect with the people who will support my business best?
The whole world is NOT wrong, you really do need to network!
But here’s the silver lining: you will be shocked by how different networking feels when you are doing it with a clear purpose and a plan!
Remember that your goal is always to meet 1-3 people who could be potential clients, potential partners, or friends to support you on your journey.
Networking can be overwhelming at first, especially if it’s been years since you’ve tried to mix and mingle, but it will be so much easier – and so much more rewarding – if you network with purpose.
So here’s what I suggest: write down a clear intention in advance and put it in your pocket or bag before entering the networking room.
Here’s an example:“I am open to the opportunities in this room; I won’t prejudge others or feel inferior. I am confident that I will find the 1-3 people that I’m here to meet and I know that they will benefit from my presence and my interest.”
How can I get more leads? Should I be doing direct outreach? How?
We tend to believe that when people need help, they will get on the horn, find a bunch of options, and then ask for a call.
But think about your own life – is that always true?
Or is it perhaps truer that when a problem arises, we sit on it for a bit. Maybe we do a bit of research and fizzle out. Perhaps we ask for recommendations and then lose them. The truth is that we are all busy, and the easiest thing to do is nothing.
My experience has been that people need a nudge: They want to feel seen, they want to hear a promise that things can be better, and they want a clear path to get more information.
When you are the person who gives them that nudge, you are often the person they decide to work with.
Direct outreach (reaching out via direct email or direct mail) is how we do this. While it can feel overwhelmingly complicated, I promise you it does not have to be. There is a process that makes it simple, convenient, and relatively inexpensive.
Do I need fancy marketing materials? Why? What kind?
Yes, you need a few professionally designed marketing materials. Your top priority is a “lead magnet,” which is an exercise or resource that gives your potential client an idea of what it would be like to work with you. What’s your philosophy? Are you funny, or serious? Are you experiential or theoretical?
Your lead magnet gives your potential client a shortcut to learning those things about you, and also – if they take your advice and do what you suggest – a genuine win.
Aim to have at least one lead magnet that you feel really good about, one that is thoughtfully put together and professionally designed.
It will serve as a way to reconnect with people you’ve met at networking events or conferences, and it can be a great thing to send to potential partners so they too can get a quick sense of who to send your way. Win-win!