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The Top 3 Things I Learned in 2018

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Every year, I love sitting down and planning for the next year. I love setting goals, reviewing my goals from last year, and planning for myself, my family, and my business. It’s an opportunity to start new, get super focused, and push “reset” on the craziness that is the month of December for my family.

This past year was an amazing year. I had a great financial year at my full-time job and my team doubled in revenue in 2018. From a team that didn’t really exist in January 2017 to $2.1 million dollars in January 2019 is something to celebrate.

I launched my business!!! While Uncensored Consulting looks ENTIRELY differently than it did when I started planning in 2017, it’s become more than I ever imagined. My goals have changed, my vision has changed, and I’ve done some pretty exciting things in growing my brand.

We traveled a little bit. Went to Key West for a wedding in February and took a long weekend off in Colorado Springs. While quieter than what we’re used to, we’ve found that kids, a business, and a couple of full-time jobs make it hard to get away as much as we’d like. It’s on the road map to change that in the future!

We joined a Small Group in our church (which has been AMAZING). We were baptized in May 2018 and became members of our church. We also started serving on our Rock Brook for Kids ministry team and teaching “sunday school.” I also co-lead a Kids Small Group and help teach first graders about Jesus (it’s so fun, and I get to learn along with them!).

We decided to grow our family and learned in October that we will be adding another sweet babe to the crew in June 2019. What can I say, I really, really like life change.

It was also a really challenging year.  

A year of change. A year of learning to be okay with wanting something different. A year of growth and of learning how to literally BE someone else. By no means have I mastered any of these things, but just recognizing where my challenges ARE is pretty exciting for me.

With all of that said, I thought I’d share with you the Top 3 Things I Learned in 2018. Or, maybe I didn’t JUST learn these things in 2018, but I am nothing if not stubborn.

1 – It’s okay to change course

I’m a planner. A Type A control freak To. The. Core. Seriously, ask my husband.

I’ve had a plan for years. I’ve worked that plan every year. I’ve checked the boxes. I’ve reached goals. I’ve set different goals. But I was always moving in the same direction. Towards one BIG life goal.

And this year – someone moved the damn goal post. Yep, just totally picked it up and put it somewhere else. It’s terrifying. Exciting. But mostly terrifying. I’ve been fighting it tooth and nail. Making excuses. Planning instead of acting. Hiding behind excuses.

Though all of this crazy, ridiculous life change – I learned that it’s OKAY to change course. It’s your course, dammit! No one else’s. And it’s okay to change. Then change again. Then change one more time.

It’s your life. Your career. Your business. Your marriage. Your family. Your workout plan. Your WHATEVER.

And it’s okay to change course whenever you feel like it.

Let’s not get crazy or anything (I’m not encouraging giving up on anything you haven’t really sunk your teeth into) – but it’s okay to want something else. And to do something to go get it.

2 – Nothing (I mean NOTHING) will change if you don’t

In light of Lesson #1 – I’ve learned Lesson #2. If you’re not willing to change. I mean, like become a totally different person, change – then don’t be surprised when what you’re chasing doesn’t happen (or at least in the way or time frame in which you want it to).

If your goal is to lose weight – you have to change who you are. You are no longer the person on the couch eating gummy worms (don’t judge me, I’m pregnant). You are the woman who eats carrots and peppers and eggs and chicken breast. Become that person.

If your goal is to grow your business – you have to become the person who grows your business. Not the person that talks about growing a business, makes plan to grow a business, or makes excuses about why they aren’t growing their business (guilty AS CHARGED, my friend).

You get my point. If you want something different – be someone different.

I obviously don’t mean change who you are as a person, but change your thoughts and habits around whatever it is you want to change.

You want to be debt free – you can’t be the person who doesn’t have a budget (believe me, I’ve tried!). It just will not work.

Got it?!

3 – There is no way to cheat hard work, determination, and consistency

There is no silver bullet. There is no course to take, no magic wand to wave, no software to buy, or ad campaign to invest in that will sustain your business goals if you’re not willing to do the work and show up Every. Damn. Day. (I’ve tried this one, too).

I’m not saying you have to work 80+ hours a work and hustle non stop to reach your goals. I am saying that if you don’t show up every day, determined to achieve what you’re working towards – you just won’t get there.

You can talk about it. Complain about it. Journal about it. But if you’re not showing up every day, you will not hit your goals (not if they’re worth hitting, anyway).

It doesn’t matter what you did last year, last month, or even last week. You have to get out of bed every, single day and get to work. That’s how you find success. It’s not buried in a book (or this blog post, for that matter) – it’s inside of you. I promise.

Like I said, NONE of these concepts are new. Or things you haven’t heard before, I’m sure. But, man did that hit me like a ton of bricks this year. Learning to want and be someone else is HARD. It requires some serious, serious mindset work (which I’ve been fighting).

Whatever it is you want. Whatever it is you’re working towards. Whatever is NOT serving you anymore. You can change course. You can change your identity. But only if you do the work.

Cheers to an amazing 2019!

Getting it All Done

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My best friend text me today and asked me the age old question…”How do you do everything that you do?” And the question literally brought me to tears. I’m going through a season right now, where I fear I’m not doing it all very well. It’s a season of one step forward and two steps back and it’s uncomfortable.

When I think about HOW I do everything that I do, I don’t have an answer. I just do. In my twenties, I got a Master’s Degree, ran half marathons, and coached competitive volleyball….and worked full-time (all at one time). Which makes this season in life very, very hard. But I’m adjusting and learning to give myself grace.

I’ve always been one to put it all on my plate at one time. I like to joke that I like to do as much life change as possible as once. Like the time I bought a house on maternity leave and moved about 4 weeks after starting a new job (with an infant).

It’s just what I do.

I go and I do.

One skill that I think helps with my ability to do a lot of things at one time is Time Management. I’ve always found myself to be more efficient at work than others. Not on purpose, I just move fast and with intention.

I think the most important part of time management is having a plan. What do you need to get done? What do you want to get done? And how do those two things match up?

Here’s the deal…we all have to-do lists miles and miles long. You’re crazy to think you’re going to get it all done each day. In fact, I’m probably a little burned out right now because I always try to get it all done in one day.

You need to prioritize your to-do list. Prioritize your tasks. Start with the WORST one first. Yep, do the thing you want to do the least, first. Get it over with. Cross it off the list, and move on.

Be specific with your list. January Social Media is not a task – it’s a header. Within that header, you need to write the social, design the social, schedule the social, etc. Yes, this will make the list longer. BUT – it will also help you cross things off – which I know you all find as satisfying as I do.

Now, you have a very specific to-do list. The next step is to go onto your calendar and schedule time to get things done. Block out time for checking email. Block out time for sales activities. Block out time to work on writing your January social media content.

Then, get to work. Stick as close to your schedule as you can. You will finish some tasks faster than you thought and others will take longer. It’s a balance of give and take.

You often hear people recommend you only check your email a few times a day and social media, your phone, etc. I’ve never mastered that. If you can, I’m sure it’s a great way to stay focused on your tasks.

Set appointments with yourself for the important stuff. There should be time for sales activities on your calendar every single day. Don’t break that appointment. Block of time for client meetings.

The more calendar blocking you can do – the better. Not to make your schedule totally rigid and inflexible, but to give you direction everyday. I firmly believe that an empty calendar is the kiss of death for a productive day.

The Personal Stuff

How do you manage your personal life around your business? Again, I haven’t quite mastered this one, but I try.  My husband and I share a Google calendar. Let’s be honest, I fill out the calendar and on occasion my husband remembers to look at it.

I also keep a dry erase calendar in our laundry room. This tracks before/after work stuff, kids stuff, social stuff, holidays, etc. This allows me to have a quick overview of the month.

I put everything on my Google calendar. Reminders. Doctor’s appointments. Business appointments. This way I have a specific place to go for EVERYTHING. Sometimes it makes my calendar really overwhelming to look at. But it’s infrequent that I miss or forget something.

I schedule as far out as possible. If I know it’s happening, I put it on the calendar. I admit, this can sometimes make me a stick in the mud and it’s hard to be spontaneous, but it’s all I can do to fit it all in some days. We do what we can with what we have.

I’ve embraced Alexa and Google to set reminders. I likely set between 2-10 reminders each day. From things like “don’t forget food for the office potluck” to “pay water bill” – I set reminders. I’ve learned at this stage in my life that I will NOT remember anything. So I set reminders.

Team Work

Teamwork makes the dream work. I’m 100% serious when I say I couldn’t get done what I get done in a day, week, or month without support. My husband is amazing. He’s my exact opposite, he rolls with the punches, and he flys by the seat of his pants. It’s what gives me the ability to do it all, because he does so much at home and literally DOESN’T care when I pivot quickly. It’s weird. And amazing.

We’re fortunate to live near family. For those of you raising children without family nearby, I salute you and pray for you. I cannot imagine. We have a really big family, many of which live within 10 minutes. That’s really, really helpful.

What’s the secret?

There is no secret. Some days I get it all done. Most days I don’t. Tomorrow is a new day. I’ve learned, over the years, to not take myself so seriously. I had an amazing boss who often used to say “We’re not saving lives here, Ryann” and it stuck with me. While getting it all done is important. My job is important. My business is important. My family is MOST important. I do what I can with what I have and remember that I don’t save life. I believe I make them better, but that can wait for tomorrow if needed.

I don’t mean to sound flippant. This is YEARS in the making. The ability to leave something undone. The ability to “turn it off” and enjoy time with my family. It’s learned. And practiced. And some days I fail.

Like today, when I gave myself about 20 minutes to write this blog post.

Give yourself grace. Take a deep breath. And remember that this a season, and it will pass. You’re doing a great job!

 

Tell Your Story

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As a business owner, especially an online business owner, how many times have you been told to tell your story?

Be vulnerable. Tell people about your journey. Connect with people emotionally.

I know you’ve heard this before if you’ve spent any time studying how to grow an audience for your online based business. I know this, because I, too, have been told this countless times. Instead of inspiring me to “tell my story” it makes me anxious because “my story” isn’t really that…profound.

You hear story after story of people on food stamps growing 6-figure businesses, and single moms down to their last $20 doing a $47k launch, and so on. I know these stories are meant to connect and inspire, but instead, it makes me feel…boring.

Yep. Boring.

My story isn’t one of “down and out” to “overnight success.”

I haven’t overcome any crazy adversity in my life to get where I am today. In fact, I’m so unbelievably blessed that sometimes I feel guilty about wanting more.

I have a girlfriend that has an incredible story. Single mom (with 2 kids), college drop-out, self taught sales pro that grew her business out of her garage. She traded out her first office space. She gave away websites to grow her following and her audience. She’s amazing and every time I hear her tell her story I’m so proud. And then, I second guess myself.

It’s CRAZY, I know. It’s crazy to think that I am second guessing myself and my ability to grow a successful business because of my own personal journey.

Here is why is it crazy.

Every single time I tell someone my story, they nod and agree. I get a ton of “oh my gosh, me too!” and so many people sharing my goal of long term, financial freedom for my family.

Then why do I second guess myself? Why do I agonize over what to say and how to relate to people?

I’m telling you this, not for sympathy, but to let you know that even the people that seem to be confident or “have it all together” are dealing with their own version of self-doubt.

For instance, I am 110% confident in my ability to teach sales, sales process, sales conversations, and sales training. No questions asked.

I struggle with other parts of my business that I KNOW come naturally to others.

I’m also sharing this to give you the confidence to tell your story and connect in a way that is authentic to YOU! I’m not overly emotional. I am full of passion and excitement in what I do and the audience I have the amazing opportunity to serve. I get fulfillment out of my work. And after hearing over and over again that I have to put more emotion into my content and my messaging and struggling with being able to do that – I decided to just be myself. To share in a way that feels good to ME! To use words that make sense to ME not because they evoke some sort of emotional response.

I am not naive enough to believe that I can grow a business without connection – nor am I saying that I’m not good at connection. Overly emotional just isn’t MY style.

I’m learning to be okay with it.

I am learning to be okay with doing things that feel good to me, not doing things because it work for someone else. I’m learning to be okay with my story being boring. I’m learning to grow my business in a way that works for me. Because, at the end of the day – that’s all you can do.

 

Tell your story.

Whether it’s sad, boring, exciting, full of adversity, or a total cakewalk. Because your person, your ideal client – that’s the kind of story they’re looking for!

And, as a bonus for hanging out this long – here is my story:

I grew up in sales. I got my first sales job directly out of college and LOVED it. I loved being in control of my income. I continued to pursue a career in sales, teaching myself the craft along the way. I went from individual contributor, to sales trainer + coach, to territory manager, to building and growing my own sales team.

When I got married, I was traveling the country, training sales reps. My husband and I knew that was my career and my path – and we were both on board. We agreed that it would be a lot of hard work, but worth it. Even when we decided to start a family together, the plan was for my career to continue.

I was fortunate enough, after having my son, to find a job working for a local company that allowed me to stop traveling and build my own team. It was my Dream Job.

In many ways, it is still my Dream Job. I still work full-time as the Director of Sales for iFocus Marketing. I love the people I work with, love the team I lead, and am proud of the results we get for our clients. In a little less than two years, we’ve grown to 5 sales people and around $2.1 million in annual revenue as a team.

What I realized, about 3 months after I went back to work, is that I rush all of the time. I rush to work in the morning, I rush home at night, our weekends are packed with family and fun and church. And I was exhausted. Not just “new mom trying to figure out work and home and new baby” exhausted, but “burnt out, frustrated, and empty” exhausted.

I knew there had to be another way.

I cannot do this forever. I cannot live like this for the next 30 years.

Let’s be honest, the further up the ladder I climb, the more money I make, the more responsibility that I get – the more hours I will be expected to work, the more pressure to deliver results, and less time for me and my family. And I realized that I wasn’t sure I wanted that anymore. I no longer wanted the corner office.

I had a bit of an identity crisis, to be honest. I’d always had a very clear path and clear goal for my career. And I was crossing things off the list to get there. But now, the list seems ….exhausting. I knew I had to build a new list. With new goals, And a new ladder to climb.

Which brings me here. To building Uncensored Consulting. How long do I build it alongside my full time job? I don’t know yet.

But I am building a legacy for my family. I am building something that, when the time comes, will allow me to support for my family, do work I really, really love, AND have the ability to slow down and enjoy time with my family.

I often get asked “why Uncensored?”

Here’s why –

Living life uncensored is about living life outside the lines. It’s about pushing boundaries.

If you’re here, you’re an overachiever. You’ve likely followed the specific steps you thought you would and should follow in your life. Sound familiar?!

You’re tired of doing it “their” way. You’re tired of living inside the box built for you.

You want to break the status quo. Color outside the lines. And build a business and a life that you love.

That’s what Uncensored Consulting is about.

Thank you for being part of my story.

Learn to be okay with NO

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This teeny-tiny, two letter word brings more fear and panic into the human heart than it deserves.

We hate hearing NO. We hate feeling rejected. We hate feeling like we’re not good enough.

This is true in business, our personal lives, family lives, and everywhere in between. No inherently makes us feel “less than.” And as humans – we’d rather live with mediocre, okay, somewhat comfortable situations than put ourselves out there and risk hearing NOOOOOO!

Here’s the deal. You need to learn to be okay with no in all areas of your life, but if you don’t master NO in your business – you’re in for a rough ride. I don’t say that to be mean or aggressive, I say it because it’s true.

You don’t have to learn to like no. You don’t have to learn how to NOT have your feelings hurt with no. But you have to learn to be okay with no, because the answer is ALWAYS no if you don’t ask.

What’s the easiest way to deal with no?

To realize that NO isn’t always personal.

I know, I know – sometimes it is. Sometimes no is personal and that makes you feel bad. If you’re human,  that won’t go away.

But, in MOST instances, no isn’t personal.

No says exponentially more about the person saying no versus the person hearing no.

Especially in business.

When someone isn’t ready to work with you – it typically truly means that they’re not ready. Nothing you can do about that.

When someone chooses another provider over you – it’s probably not that they didn’t like you. Maybe they felt the other solution was a better fit for their problem. Maybe they found you intimidating. Maybe the other person’s solution was more in line with their budget.

When someone can’t afford your service (like really, truly can’t afford it) – that’s not in your control.

When someone’s husband “won’t let them” invest in another coaching program – that’s not about you at all. And perhaps WAY more about her husband “not letting” her do something.

My favorite, when someone “ghosts” you that you thought you had an amazing connection with. You probably did have an amazing connection and she was just too chicken to say no.

We’ve all heard NO for all of those reasons and probably a few more. And each time it hurts. That part won’t go away, my friend. You’re human.

That’s the hard part of learning to be okay with no. It doesn’t stop hurting. It doesn’t stop being uncomfortable. You just learn how to bounce back a little bit faster. You learn how to stop. Feel whatever you’re feeling. And move on faster. Because that is all that you can do.

Feel it – then move on

When you get a no, especially for something that you really wanted (or expected) to happen – it can sting. And it can be hard to figure out how to move forward.

My best advice – feel it. Deal with it. Be sad. Be hurt. Be angry. Take a predetermined amount of time, be it 10 minutes or 1 day, to feel how you feel.

Find somewhere to channel your feelings. I recommend boxing – nothing is more gratifying than punching something when you’re sad/mad/hurt/angry/etc. Just find your thing and do that.

Then, it’s time to move on. When you’re predetermined time is up – you move on. You move forward. You start taking action again.

What if you expect it?

Imagine what would happen if you changed the narrative in your head around no. What if you started to expect it. Not in a negative way where you think that nothing is going to go your way – but in a realistic way that looks at things from the perspective of “the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.”

What if you keep in the back of your mind that no is possibility. And you realize that if you get a no, you’ll be okay. You’ll be bummed, but you’ll survive. You’re already thinking about what’s next, if this doesn’t work out. You’re already moving past the no.

I want to say this again, because I am an inherently positive person. I’m not saying you should be negative and assume the worst and be all gloom and doom all of the time. I’m saying that you should should look at all situations from angle, one of which includes hearing no.

When you’re already prepared and already have a next step – no doesn’t tend to hurt as bad. Plus, you get the added bonus of new ideas that you already brainstormed. Win. Win.

It gets easier

The more you hear no, the easier it gets. The more you experience “rejection” in your business, you’ll start to learn how to bounce back faster. It does get easier, like all things in life. With time and experience – everything improves.

In the meantime, focus on what you can control. Be mindful of your emotions. And realize that NO will never, ever kill you.

Again, this wasn’t written in an attempt to downplay anyone’s feelings or over simplify what it means to not get what you want. It’s to help you learn the mental game of hearing no in your business. It will happen (a lot) and the better you are at rolling with it and not letting it totally derail your whole day/week/month – the better of your business will be.

How Do You Get Over Your Dislike of Sales?!

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The number of conversations I have with women in business who say things like “sales isn’t my thing” or “I don’t want to be pushy…” is staggeringly high. I do not want to  diminish anyone’s feelings because I know they’re very real. However, if you really want to grow your business and help more people – SALES has to be part of your business plan.

With that said, how do get over the fact that you think that sales is yucky, pushy, aggressive, and annoying? How do you change your mindset and get that general gross feeling?!

I’ve got good news and bad news.

Good news – you can TOTALLY master this. You can LEARN sales skills. You can work on your mindset and your skills and feel really, really good about the sales conversations that you’re having.

Bad news – it will take work. A lot of mental work. The hard stuff. The kind of work that pushes you out of your comfort zone. The kind of work that makes you do stuff you don’t like to do.

BUT – I promise, if you put in the work – you will see results.

Here are 3 things to think about to help get over your dislike of sales and start viewing sales as a way to help more people.

Selling is Helping

Your goal is to help people. You do what you do because you have an amazing gift to share with the world. In order to help more people – you have to sell your services! You have to sell your expertise. You have to talk to strangers, offer up your services, and ASK for money.

That’s it! Selling is helping.

When you sell someone your service – you’re helping them. Helping them reach their goals. Helping them master a new skill. Helping them move themselves forward in some way.Here’s the deal – you’re not always going to hear yes. But – when you help someone make a decision (yes or no) – you are genuinely helping them!

Selling is helping. Helping someone take a step forward. Helping someone say no. Helping someone make a decision.

Your service can change someone’s life

We’ve already established that the service you provide is helping someone, right?

If you’re a social media manager – and you can give a time strapped business owner back a few hours every week – that’s a HUGE deal. If you can help them generate more leads for their services – that’s a game changer for some people.

This is just one example, but the service you provide can literally change someone’s life. Even if it’s the simplest upgrade, tweak, or improvement – if it makes their life easier or their business better – it can easily be considered life changing.

That’s why you have to embrace selling. You are literally doing the world a disservice if you don’t. If you don’t sell you services, help more people, and change more lives – there are people missing out on what you offer.

I know it seems a little overly dramatic, but THINK about it. Think about the service you provide and the results that you get from your clients. Aren’t the results dramatic? Are their lives changed?!!

When you know, really, truly know, that what you do is life changing – selling becomes easier. Hearing no becomes easier. Have tough conversations become easier. Because you know that there are people out that need what you do – you just have to go out there and find them (we call that selling!)

Ask for Permission

Here’s the deal, my friend. You cannot strong arm someone into a sales conversation that they don’t have want to have. You cannot force them into talking to you. You can’t make them hand over their credit card information. You just can’t.

Now that we have that out of the way – we can see that selling being pushy or yucky seems a little….dramatic, maybe? You cannot force people into doing things they don’t want to do…

So, when someone agrees to get on the phone with you and talk about your program – but they don’t make a decision on that call – ask for permission to follow up!

“Sarah, I know that right now isn’t the right time for you, but it sounds like we’re still a really great fit to work together – can I follow up with you in a month or so to see how things are going?”

If Sarah says no, then your answer is no. If Sarah says yes – you BETTER follow up with her in a month or so. You have permission from a WARM prospect that is interested in your program, knows, likes, and trusts, ANNNDDD knows how much it costs. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

The key to non-pushy follow up is to always ask for permission.

“Can we talk in a week or so?”

“I know you want to talk to your husband before you move forward – can we chat this time tomorrow?”

“When would be a good time to follow up with you?”

“Is there anything else I can do to help you?

“Do you mind if I check back in a few weeks – see how things are going for you?”

All of these are non-aggressive, non-pushy ways to ask for permission to move the conversation forward. Here’s the deal – people can very easily answer NO to any of these questions. In which case, they’re not your person and you move on. But, when the say yes, it’s your chance to “over-deliver.” It’s your chance to keep winning them over and moving them closer to a yes – all with their permission!

This is just the start – when you put in the work and change your mindset – magical things can happen.

When you truly believe you can help people, when you’re 100% confident in the results you deliver for your clients, and when you have permission to follow up – you’re well on your way to having the business of your dreams.

These very small, seemingly very simple tweaks will make a monumental difference in your business.

If you want to chat, talk through these ideas, or just ask questions – please reach out to me directly – I’d love to help you.

Remember – you’re amazing and what you do!

Cheers!

 

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