Meh to Marvelous Transformation: Day 34

In today’s “Meh to Marvelous” video, Michelle checks in about a cool experience she had today. She shares how spending time with a group of people from her past really helped her to see how much she’s already changed. You can see how excited and empowered she is with the progress she’s made in transforming her life and business so far.

“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.” – Jeff Hellenbrand, Cake Coaching

Don’t Force It

dontforceitAre you trying too hard? It’s easy to get swept up in the “I must market my wedding business!” mindset, but it’s dangerous. Nobody likes it when you’re being pushy. I think it all comes down to fear. If you’re afraid of not having enough sales, or worse: going under, it’s a totally natural reaction to go into desperate-marketing-mode. But, please, don’t do it.

Being desperate and pushy doesn’t work. Do you like it when your Facebook newsfeed is full of self-promotional stuff? When somebody calls you because they need your business? When you get the 100th email saying “free junk” or “please stop what you’re doing and buy this!”? Nobody does.

Learn from it. It’s tempting to ignore what made you jump into gross-marketing mode, but it’s worth a closer look. What in particular made you feel like you had to go into sales mode? Where is the fear? When you know the fear, it’s a whole lot easier to squash it. Uncovering it is often enough to say, “hey, it’s really not so bad.”

Instead, be passionate. People love real, authentic passion. You are intensely passionate about what you do and who you serve. You’re probably also passionate about weird things like unicycles, garage sales or action figures. Be your weird self. Connect with people who love what you do. Put yourself out there. Be a leader in passion. Not only will it naturally lead you to the right clients, it also feels so much better.

And be generous. When the bank balance starts to dwindle, it’s tempting to say “no more!” to anything that begins with a dollar-sign. We also tend to get really greedy with our time, our connections and everything else. Do you know someone who’s stingy? How do you feel about that person? Let go of the fear and be generous again. If you don’t have a penny to spare, give up an hour for somebody who has less than you. Be really generous in connecting a rising star in the industry. When you give, everyone wins. And when the two people you connected want to do something nice for someone, who will they think of? They’ll think of you.

Business (and especially marketing) doesn’t have to feel gross. It doesn’t have to be gross. Understanding your fear, letting go of it, and replacing it with passion and generosity is a killer start to loving your business and your life. Throw in a little of your own creativity and you’ve got a recipe for big, authentic success. Live brilliantly.

8 Reasons Why Being Broke is Better for Business

nationaltreasureNobody likes being broke. I’ve been broke (or close) more than once in my life and I usually don’t appreciate it much at the time. As entrepreneurs, we want money. And from what I can tell, we want it for two very important, and very different, reasons. The first reason is that we want to stay alive and feed our families. The second is that we think making a lot of money will fill our need for security, stability, freedom, success, etc. We all need money to live. As for that other stuff (the need for the things money represents), money isn’t going to give you that. Get over it.

Most of the wedding entrepreneurs I know who are still working to get their business off the ground would practically kill for a loan. Any cash-bump would be a godsend at this point.

This post is for you. You don’t need a loan, a grant or a large settlement. You don’t. Being broke is actually better for business and I’m going to show you why:

  1. You can’t throw money at problems. Throwing money at problems is a short-term solution that is almost always wasteful. If you don’t have money, you have to actually address the issue-at-hand. Getting to the root of the problem and taking care of it (rather than covering it up by throwing cash around) is a much healthier, cheaper and more responsible, long-term solution.
  2. The success of your business will probably not come down to money. I’ve heard people say that the number one reason businesses fail is because they don’t start out with enough capital. Okay, you need way more money to start a business than you think you do – I totally agree on that (I’ve lived it). But I see this as a total cop out. Money is one of many resources. How about connections, time and hustle? Are you using those to the best of your ability? Learning to fully harness resources other than money is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business.
  3. It forces you to hustle. People who’ve made it sometimes sit back and enjoy their success while their business slowly goes under. Just see Richard St. John’s 4-minute TED talk. If your bank account is hovering just above zero, you have no time to waste. You’re forced to spend your time on your most important job: getting paid.
  4. You have the added motivation of thinking money will make you happy. Most rich people eventually learn that money truly can’t buy happiness (again, see Richard’s TED talk, link above). If you’re broke, you haven’t figured that out yet. You can use the double motivation of money and happiness to make your business successful, even though you’ll only end up with money and not necessarily happiness.
  5. You don’t waste money. Companies who begin making cash hand over fist often start spending money like there’s no tomorrow. After all, if there’s money in the bank, why not spruce up the office and buy that new car, right? When you’re broke, you don’t have extra cash to spend. You properly vet advertising opportunities and other investments because you can’t afford to mess it up. This results in better decisions, better returns and more money in your pocket.
  6. You take REALLY good care of your clients. I offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee. There were times in my business where it would have been difficult for me to come up with a refund – I was that broke. Thankfully, no one had any reason to request a refund. During that time, I worked hard. Not just to get new business, but also to look after my clients. I knew that a great experience meant a killer review, which would ultimately lead to more business. Companies with cash sometimes think it’s not their job to make every client happy. You’re too broke to think that way. Every client matters. A lot.
  7. You have to be creative. People with too much money can waste it on print ads and bridal expos that don’t work. Not you. You have to find other ways to get the right clients. Whether it’s inviting a fellow vendor to coffee for one-on-one networking (and brainstorming), creating a one-of-a-kind bridal event with other vendors or volunteering in an organization with plenty of engaged folks (or something even cooler, even more out-there that no one else has tried before), you’re doing things that other vendors just aren’t doing.
  8. Being broke is good for the soul. And a happy soul is good for business. When you’re broke, you can’t fill the voids in your life with money. For me, that’s meant that instead of expensive activities used as an escape (read: hookers and blow), I choose to spend time on soul-replenishing stuff like taking the pugs for a long walk, spending more time with my wife and playing pickup basketball. Doing things that matter with people you love makes you grounded and connects you with you. Then, when you’re in a sales meeting (for example), instead of slipping into “salesy” you, you stay who you are, because you actually know who you are.

Alright, that’s my list. What do you think? Am I insane? Am I right? Do you feel better about being broke yet?

Being broke may be good for business at first, but it’s no way to live long term. If you’re tired of being broke, take the Get Better Brides Process to find out where you’re going wrong. Join the Bootcamp: Meh to Marvelous in 6 Weeks. Hire a marketing consultant. See a shrink. Do something.

Meh to Marvelous Transformation: Day 25

Michelle gives away some of the goods from Energy Leadership, the secret sauce behind the Get Better Brides Process. She talks about how the work she’s doing in coaching is changing how she views a difficult relationship in her life. Listen to her talk about how what she’s learning is directly impacting her conversations and relationships.

Are you showing up the way you want to in your relationships? Take the Get Better Brides Process to find out exactly how you’re showing up and how it’s affecting the kinds of people you connect with and also how they treat you. In the coaching session that follows the assessment, you find out how things (you may have never considered) are directly impacting the people closest to you and even whether or not brides hire you.

“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.

Meh to Marvelous Transformation: Day 26

Michelle checks in for her “Meh to Marvelous” transformation after her field trip on this busy, super fun day. She shares about a really exciting chance meeting with someone who created the exact job they wanted. For her, it’s a powerful reminder that we are co-creators of our reality.

That’s a pretty heady concept: “co-creators of our reality.” What does it mean? It means you have way more control than you think. What’s one situation where you feel like you don’t have much control? In that situation, how are you influencing things you maybe didn’t even consider before? If you’re having trouble thinking of any, that’s okay. It’s normal. Just know that you have way more power than you think. This idea is the key to why some people seem to have all of the luck and others seem to be followed around by a big, dark cloud. It’s not fate. It’s you! Want to find out which camp you fall into and how you can change it if you don’t like what you see? Sign up for the Get Better Brides process today.

“Michelle came to me because she was looking to make some huge changes in her life and kickstart her new business. She’s an experienced florist living in a major city and she is totally devoted to her kids, including a daughter with special needs. Michelle’s motivation to start her own business stemmed from her desire to spend more time with her daughters. She’s keeping a video diary of her progress in this 90-day Meh to Marvelous transformation.

Is generosity Your Crutch?

You’re a generous person. In your wedding business, you go out of your way to help brides. I’ll bet good money that you go the extra mile for your clients. And that you’re at least a little proud of just how generous you are.

And that’s awesome. Except when it’s not.

Are you giving away discounts and extras constantly? Why? The fundamental question you need to ask is this:

Am I doing this because I want to be generous or because I am afraid? Continue reading

Don’t Get More Brides, Get Better Brides

photo credit: Team Twilight

Do you want to get more brides? Wedding entrepreneurs (especially with new businesses) spend a lot of time thinking about how to get more clients. Being really good at what you do is important, but it doesn’t matter if brides aren’t hiring you. All businesses need clients. The danger comes when we begin to think that getting more brides is all that matters.

What happens when all we want to do is “get more brides”?

We start working with poor-fit clients. They aren’t very fun to hang out with. They don’t get our jokes. And worst of all…

Brides don’t like our work. If the client isn’t a good fit, there’s a good chance they won’t be thrilled with our work, even if it’s amazing. And, lastly… Continue reading

Guest Post: How I Created a Viral Blog in 4 Months

CT Designs Inc logoI am so grateful to Jeff for asking me to share the story of how I was able to dramatically increase my blog traffic… Our numbers are still climbing and I couldn’t be happier.

My blogging history was sporadic at best. I would post maybe once or twice a week if I found the time. I wanted more traffic, but always thought I was just too busy to be a consistent blogger. I read somewhere that Google search engines are friendlier to blogs who’s content is refreshed 3-4 times per week.

Well starting in September 2011, I did just that and my blog traffic went through the roof. The following are some steps I took and hopefully they can help you as well:

  • I began to produce more content for my blog. Sounds elementary right? Honestly though, while it may seem daunting, as long as you can block out some time to store up multiple blogs, you won’t fall behind.
  • I made sure that my blog titles were more search engine friendly than they were “pithy”. It is always tempting to title your blog in a witty fashion, but its not always best if you’d like for your blog to pop up during searches. Continue reading

Three Things You’re Doing To Get Bad Brides

Every wedding entrepreneur wants tons of great clients. But most of us have had a couple of rotten ones, too. If you’ve ever gotten one lousy review on Yelp, worked with a really needy bride or had somebody inexplicably demand a refund, you know what I mean. And you also know how much it sucks.

As a coach, I help point out things that wedding business owners don’t realize they’re doing. Things that are attracting exactly the wrong types of clients. Here are three things you’re doing to get bad brides:

You don’t set boundaries.
This shows up in a lot of different ways. Often, it’s making one-too-many revisions for a needy client or dropping your price way more than you should.

You break your own rules.
It’s not good enough just to have rules (rules like “no checking email after 7pm”). You actually have to stick to them (at least the good ones). When you break your own rules, you open the door to let clients walk all over you, too.
Continue reading

Be Strong. Be Yourself.

A lot of wedding entrepreneurs take on clients against their better judgment. They think, “maybe this will turn out to be a good client,” or simply “I can’t afford to turn down business.” There’s a myth lingering from the old-school way of business that says “all business is good business.” Which is nice. It’s just wrong.

I’d like to show you why you can’t afford to be anything but yourself. Here’s why you should be strong and be yourself:

1. Being fake isn’t effective.
So many people “turn on the nice” when a bride walks in the door. It doesn’t work. I mean, it beats just being a total jackass. But brides smell fake a mile away. So if you’re having a horrible day, find a polite way to mention they caught you on an off day. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you open up and Continue reading