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I Love Women’s Conferences

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to attend two different women’s conferences. Few things in life bring me more energy than connecting with and learning from other amazing women.

The first conference was put on by the National Association of Women’s Business Owners (NAWBO) and the second by the Kansas City Business Journal.

I wanted to take time this week to share with you my top takeaways from these conferences, as I thought there were both really amazing.

1 – Never stop learning.

No matter how long you’ve been in business, how great you are at what you do, how amazing the tribe around you is….never stop learning. Read books. Go to conferences. Listen to podcasts. Watch inspiring YouTube videos. Join Masterminds. Business is changing every single day. Never stop learning.

2 – As women, we need to STOP fighting one another.

We need to lift each other up. There is more than enough to go around. Celebrate the women around you. Support one another. Do business with other amazing women in business. Mentor another woman in business. Find another woman in business to mentor you. Stop competing. Champion each other. Other women in

business should be your allies; your support system – not your competitors.

3 – Be clear on your vision.

I recently blogged about the importance of mission and vision. But it’s worth repeating. What are your building? What is your plan? What are you working towards? This is so important. It’s easy to get bogged down, frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed. Use your vision to propel you forward. The day to day can be tough – use your vision to help you through the hard days.

4 – Stop saying yes to everything.

(I am SO guilty of this). You have to have space in your business and your life to think 

and process what is going on around you. We’re all so worried about missing out on an opportunity or disappointing someone that we take on things that aren’t in line with our vision. We take on things that cause us to stop taking care of ourselves. It’s important to weigh each and every decision against your goals, your vision, and what it means to your life to take on.

5 – Build a community.

Be a connector. Focus on other people – what can you do for them? And, make sure you do what you say you’re going to do! The most important part of being a connector is to GIVE! Networking is exponentially easier when you’re focused on helping other people.

6 – Focus on what you can control.

We are constantly trying to juggle everything, make everyone happy, and run in 38 different directions – which often makes us feel like we’re not doing anything well. Focus on what you can control. Be intentional with your time. What is draining your energy? If it’s draining your energy – WHY are you still doing?!

7 – Change the narrative in your head.

Would you talk to a friend like you talk to yourself? We have to be more gentle on ourselves along the way. Take care of yourself. Make time for yourself. Focus on who fills you up – and figure out how you can show up and serve the people in your life that matter most.

8 – Think about this: Do you accept people who do things differently than you do?

Are you creating an environment of exclusion instead of inclusion? If the answer isn’t one you like – give yourself grace – and figure out what you can do differently. You have to be okay with your choices – and STOP judging other people for theirs.

9 – We are all leaders – because we are all influencers.

Be aware of the impact you have on the people around you, both directly and indirectly. Before we can connect to other people – we have to know ourselves!! Once you know yourself – you can become an influencer for others. What do you want to be remembered for?

Overall, it was an incredible experience. I would attend both events again. None of these ideas are new to me – but it’s always great to hear from it from a different perspective. There’s something exciting about hearing from someone that has obtained the kind of success you’re working towards. And I wanted to share these thoughts and “nuggets” of wisdom with you!

Do you love attending conferences? What are some of the biggest takeaways of conference you’ve attended?

How to Start Conversations with Strangers Online – Without Pitching!

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One of the reasons we find sales uncomfortable is because we have to start conversations with strangers. I often get questions from clients around how to start a conversation or how to build a relationship with a stranger (without pitching).

I find this especially true with online entrepreneurs. We’ve all gotten the endless onslaught of direct messages trying to sell us something without any context. It feels yucky and pushy – which is the biggest pushback I get around sales!

“Ryann, I hate sales – it feels so gross…”

Good news, my friends! 

There are ways to start conversations with strangers and start building a relationship without trying to sell anything (until the time is right). I am going to give you ONE question to ask yourself every time you interact with a stranger…would I say this to a friend or family member? If the answer is NO – then don’t say it online!

Would you direct message a friend with a link to your calendar to ask them to schedule a time with you to talk? Or, would you send you send a message to a friend to download a “freebie” if you didn’t know if they needed the information inside of it? Would you send your sister a text message talking ONLY about yourself (when she didn’t ask how you were doing)?

Then WHYYYYY are we doing this to people online? Why are we sending people our calendar links to schedule time with us when we know nothing about them? Why are we sending links to our freebies to people if we don’t know if the freebie solves their problem? Why are we talking endlessly about ourselves?!

STOP. Just stop.

Here’s the deal, I don’t want you to feel bad if you’ve been doing this, that’s never my intention. I just want you to start thinking about how you feel, how you want to make buying decisions, and how you would talk to a friend or family member. Every single time you interact with people online – you should think about these things.

Okay, now we know what not to do, right?! Then, what is the right way to start a conversation with a stranger online?

Here’s the piece of advice I want you think of here – how would I start a conversation with this person if you were face to face? How do you start conversations at networking events? Cocktail parties?

You start with “small talk,” right?

I always start with thanking the person for connecting. Then, I ask them a question about themselves.

What are you most excited about in your business right now?!

What big things are you working on?

Tell me about you and your business?

If I saw a comment they left somewhere, I let them know that. “I love your comment on that post – and appreciate your insight…tell me about yourself!”

The point is start a conversation – just like you would in person.

Keep it light and high level. Ask follow up questions. “Oh wow, that’s really interesting – what kind of clients do you work with?” “Really – what kind of online course are you launching?”

Eventually – they will ask about you and what you do.

DO NOT START SELLING. We make the mistake of thinking this is your opportunity to speak up and talk about yourself and wind up oversharing. Answer the question – deliver your elevator pitch – and then ask them another question.

My goal is to learn as much as possible about a person in the first few exchanges. I want to know what they do, what kind of clients they work with, and then eventually will ask about challenges in their business. I start to ask people their stories – when and why did you start your business?  Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

I know, I know – we’re like 20 messages in right now.

Just like you would be in a conversation with a girlfriend or cousin, right?!

Eventually, I will let the person know that I think they could find value in joining my Facebook group or downloading my 10 Questions To Ask To Hear Yes More Often. But only after I have a specific reason WHY they should. “You mentioned wanting to work with more clients – I have a totally free Facebook group that would be a great resource to you – we’d love to have you.”

Will this take longer? YES.

Will people ignore you? YES.

Will people pitch you when you’re trying to make conversation and get to know them? YES.

Then WHY would I do this?

It helps you filter out the people you don’t want to work with. It helps you start building relationships faster – in turn, bringing on clients faster. People start referring you to their friends. They start telling people about how much value you’ve provide for them. Even if they’ve only talked to you once.

You become a real human being – not just another pushy salesperson.

You’ve heard the saying “anything worth doing is worth doing right,” right?

When you put in the time, provide value, and treat people like you would a friend or family member – you will start attracting more people into your tribe. Even if they don’t do business with you – they know you, like you, and trust you – and will refer you to others.

And that is what it’s all about – the more value you can provide, the more raving fans you will create, and the larger your reach will be!

Mission and Vision

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As we continue talking about goal setting, it’s important that we are clear on our mission and our vision for our business. It’s fine to set a financial goal for yourself and your business, but it becomes watered down if you’re not super focused on your mission and your vision.

People tend to get these two things confused. We also tend overthink them, because we think our mission and our vision have to be deep, emotional things.

Good news, my friend. It doesn’t have to be! Your mission and your vision are just that. What are you on a mission to do with your business? What is your vision? What do you see evolving for you and your business over the years? What is your ultimate “end game,” if you will?

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement explains what you are, your reason for doing what you do and the reason that your business exists. Your mission statement will help you define who your customers are, what you do to serve them, and the change you wish to impact.

Again, your reason can be because you’re passionate about something specific or because you’re looking to make dramatic life changes. It can be HUGE or it can be simple. But there is a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing – and it needs to be part of your mission statement.

Whether big or small, your mission has to be enough to keep you going. It has to be enough to get you out of bed every morning and help you through the tough times. Again, doesn’t have to be hugely meaningful to anyone but YOU.

Think 3-4 sentences. You don’t want to ramble or go on forever. But clear, be specific. Tell your story.

Once we’re clear on our mission statement, it becomes easier to set our goals. If our goals aren’t in line with our mission statement – one or the other need to be updated.

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement is about where you’re going. Who will you be in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? Your vision statement is what you aspire to be. It focuses on your hopes and your dreams for your brand and your business.

Again, this is a short message. It’s maybe a few sentences, a paragraph at best.

Why is this super short exercise so important? It gives you the vision for your future. Are you working towards a speaking career? Writing a book? Becoming a major influencer in the online space? Where do you see yourself going?

The vision statement brings these things to life. It helps drive decisions for your business. It can help you inspire yourself or your team.

Why are these things important?

If you’re not clear on what you do, why you do it, who you do it for, and where you’re going – business can be really hard. It can be hard to craft good sales emails, write social media posts, run productive discovery and sales calls when you’re not clear on what you’re doing!

Your mission statement and your vision statement help you get focused on what your business is and what you want it to be. This will help you learn what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. It’s the benchmark in which you will hold yourself to.

It can also help you tell your story to your potential clients. People like to know what people stand for. The more you share, the more of the right people you will attract to your business.

What if I don’t know?! What if I’m not clear?

Well then, sister, you’ve got some work to do. Remember, this isn’t set in stone. You can pivot, you can make changes, you can update. You’re allowed to change your mind. But you need to start somewhere.

Try this – go to a coffee shop, a park, a quiet space where you can think…whatever your happy place is. Bring a notebook and a pen. Put away your phone, laptop, etc. And just take notes. Daydream. Doodle. Think about why you started your business. Think about the results you want your clients to get. In this exercise, there are no stupid ideas or bad ideas. Just write.

Then, go back through your notes. Is there a theme? Are the same things popping up? Are the same goals apparent?

Then…you have it! Now, you can enlist a friend, coach, trust colleague to help you flush it all out! But you’re well on your way to having a mission and vision statement for your business!

Goal Setting 101

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Every self-help book you read tells you that successful people set goals. In fact, in my blog last week, I told you that goal setting was a trait of successful business owners.

It sounds simple, right. Just write down your goals. That’s it….

Then you sit and you stare at the blank page with no idea where to start.

Do I set goals for the week? For the month? For the quarter? For the year? For my business? Personal goals? Fitness goals?

It’s overwhelming to think about. Especially because the answer is yes to all of those questions.

Let’s break down the basics of goal setting.

**shamless plug, the 2019 Cha-Ching is my Cashbackward Formula to Goal Setting + Business Planning. Our free webinar series starts on 10/29 – you don’t want to miss it!

As my formula suggests, you have to begin with the end in mind. What do you want to achieve? What’s important to you?

The more specific you are, the better off you will be. For instance, I want a successful online business is a very general goal. I want to make $150,000 annually in my sales coaching business. I will do this by serving my clients one on one, in small groups, and in-person business building workshops. That goal is specific. It talks about my income goal and how I plan to make money.

From there, you can work backwards into your goals. I’m a believer in setting large goals and then chunking them up. The more specific you can be and the more color you can provide, the more successful you will be.

Once you decide on your goals, you then need to figure out how to measure them. 

I used a monetary example, because it’s easy to measure. I will know each month how I’m doing against my goal. However, your goal might be about how many people you want to work with, Maybe it’s about how many people you enroll in your online course. Or, how many people do you sign up during your program launch. If you’re brand new, it might as simple as adding 100 new people to your email list each month.

Whatever it is, it has to be measurable.

Here’s the deal, rockstar.

Your goals have to be reasonable.

If you’re brand new to business – enrolling 10,000 people to your online course might be a bit pie in the sky. If this is your very first program launch, you might want to be conservative in your goal numbers. Then, set a stretch goal for yourself.

I don’t tell you this so that you don’t reach for the stars. I want your goals to be aggressive. But, I also know that setting goals that you never, ever reach can be discouraging. It’s a delicate balance, but one that’s important.

If you’re way off on achieving a goal, I often recommend changing the timeline, versus the goal. If your goal was to help 200 people this year, and you’re only going to hit 125 by the end of the year – extend your goal to April 2019. This can help with balance in achieving your goals, but changing the timeline.

You need to write your goals down.

I keep mine in a Google doc, because if I wrote them in a notebook I would lose them. I break them down by business, personal, and fitness. I look at them monthly, if not quarterly. If I am way, way off – I readjust. If I am knocking it out of the park, I adjust for that as well.

You want to be sure you keep your goals somewhere that you can review them often. In addition to my BIG goal, I also set goals for myself each week. Those, I write down on paper in my gratitude journal. I also set goals for myself each month – also in my gratitude journal.

These goals are more specific to what I am working on right now, versus tying in directly to my great big, annual goals. Theoretically, they should tie into those goals. For instance, one of my goals is to build my Facebook group. I’d like to have 300 people in the group by the end of the year. That goal goes along with my business goals, but doesn’t have an exact tie into my income goal and the number of clients I want to work with.

Each week, I focus on the projects and tasks I am working on. These tasks are always related in someway to my business, but again, don’t tie in directly.

Goal setting doesn’t have to be daunting.

But, it is critical to your success. The more specific you can be, the better off you will be. Even if you miss (and statistics show that you won’t) – you’re likely to stretch yourself farther than you would if you didn’t set them.

My final piece of advice about goal setting is to find an accountability partner. While sharing your goals probably feels vulnerable, it’s a great way to keep yourself on point. When someone else shares in your success (and your failure) you’re more likely to stay the course. This person can also help keep you on track when you try to change the game in the middle of it (guilty, as charged).

Whether it’s your partner, your business coach, a friend you’ve met in business, or a girlfriend – sharing your goals (bonus if you say them out loud) will definitely up the ante.

I try not to do this often, but I am going to plug the 2019 Cha-Ching again. We’re going to take goal setting one step further – into business planning. We’ll break your goals down into bite-size, reasonable chunks and touch every, single, piece of your business. You don’t want to miss it.

5 Important Traits + Skills of Successful Business (and Sales) People

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Every blog, podcast, and book give you tips and tricks to grow your business. You can drive yourself crazy trying to take in all of the advice and implement in your life (not that I’ve tried…).

There are a few traits and skills that successful people seem to put into play, regardless of role, experience, or “technique” they use in their business. Good news, most of these are things you can work on and improve, with the right guidance and support.

Let’s dig in!

1 – Always learning

Successful people are always learning. They’re consistently making themselves better. They read books, they take classes, they seek out people that have more experience or different skills. Successful people know that they never want to be the smartest person in the room. They intentionally seek out places where they can connect with and learn from others. It’s a never ending journey for those experiencing success in their business.

2 – Time Management

While not all super successful business owners are amazing at time management, they fully understand the importance of it. They know that they have to intentional with their days or their schedules can easily run them.

Simple things like planning each week and blocking off time for income producing activities help make sure that the business is constantly moving forward. In addition, they make time for themselves; including meditation, working out, and personal development.

The most successful business owners (and salespeople) you’ll meet know that if it doesn’t get calendar-ed, it doesn’t get done. And while they’re not all amazing at it, they make an effort each day to be intentional with their time.

In a world where “busy” is a badge of honor, successful people know that well thought out, income producing, or strategic activities are key.

3 – Goal oriented

In line with being specific and having a plan for how each day is spent, successful business owners are extremely goal oriented. They’re constantly taking inventory of where they’re at and where they’re going.

It’s more than just setting goals though, it’s about monitoring the progress towards each of those goals that set the “best of the best” apart. It’s not enough to just write down a pie in the sky goal, but rather taking time to to develop a plan to hit that goal.

Successful business owners know that there are some goals that they will miss, but rather than let that get them down – they use that as fuel. They find energy in continuing to stretch themselves and push themselves outside of their comfort zone.

4 – Persistent

Those with the most successful businesses (and the biggest book of business) are those that are persistent. They know that that their first try isn’t always their best try – and that they’re going to have to try over and over again to find a way to make things work.

They don’t back down at resistance and they understand that often times “no” is a “not right now.” They fully understand that the “fortune is in the follow-up” and are tenacious with their outreach when they know they have something of value to offer.

The biggest differentiator for those with the highest success is that they understand the different between persistence and stubbornness. They’re very strategic about where they put their time and energy.

5 – Relationships

In all areas of life, it’s really about building relationships.

In business and in sales, high achievers spend a large portion of their time building relationships with clients, people in their community, their teams, and their vendors. They fully understand that their network is a critical part of their business, regardless of industry.

In an online environment, those that are most successful actually time to spend online interacting with others. It’s not endless scrolling on Facebook or LinkedIn, but finding their people and being thoughtful about starting relationships.

Like most things in life, it’s about the basics. It’s about being intentional with your activity. It’s about connecting with others and never taking the first no as the final no. Working a plan is one of the most underused ways to find success, but a critical one that most successful people follow.

 

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