How to Clarify Your Business Direction

Business DirectionAs I was combing through older content on the blog, I came across this blog post, Three Business Lessons Learned from a Robot. The analogy is funny but the tips where full of insight. It made me think about how important it is to have a sense of direction when it comes to your business.

I think it goes a little beyond steps to setting goals, especially for a small internet home business run by solopreneurs. Sometimes  fear, lack of clarity, limited support and having no sense of direction gets the better of us.

See, you and I were trained to fail in entrepreneurship because we weren’t given the tools to manage through the hardships, fight through the struggles and withstand the unpredictability that frequently comes with running a business.

When we were younger, we followed house rules and directives from our parents. In school, we were guided by lesson plans facilitated by our teachers. At a job, we were given a set of tasks based on a job description. So when it comes to taking risks in entrepreneurship, resistance sets in because we’re not given a “guide” to follow. Take a look at this inspirational yet informational video featuring Seth Godin - Failing Until You Succeed.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Who’s In Charge?

Many people I’ve come across have fantasized about starting a business at one point or another. My sister, who has a business degree, has specifically admitted she is afraid of failing. My best friend has had a longtime dream of opening up a childcare center. She quit her job last December and got very close to closing a deal on a property several months ago. The deal folded and she became paralyzed by disappointment. She is she now back to working a job. Another one of my friends grew up with an entrepreneurial father. She has dreams of starting a horticulture therapeutic center but feels she is not “organized” enough to even know where to begin.

There’s nothing worse than the hopeless feeling of jumping around aimlessly and later rationalizing your “failure” to a set of circumstances you created a belief around. You either have an internal or external locus of control, meaning things happen because of you or to you. Your viewpoint can affect your success.

I’ve always been passionate about facing fears and making breakthroughs. I encourage my clients and patients to give themselves permission to be bold – it’s cliché but true. But if you don’t know where you are going, it’s much more difficult to stay focused and grounded.

Visualizing what you want

There’s a lot of research done about visualization. Some people swear by vision boards. I, for one, believe that it definitely helps to envision and image  and actually feeling what it’s like to get there. It creates this energy and momentum and keeps you zoned in, even when you are not consciously thinking about it. I use something similar where I place a description of my ultimate business vision on my bedroom night table that way I see it as soon as I wake up. Not in a Law of Attraction kind of way but I feel it helps to remind me while my brain cells are fresh of what I need to do to get one step closer.  Check out these tips I found on how to use visualization to achieve your goals.

Setting Intentions

Goals are very individualistic. There is a reason why you want to accomplish “that thing”. The tangible outcome is rarely what you are after. Not to get touchy-feely but normally it’s a search for a feeling (accomplished, loved, smart, sexy, free, etc.). Get to know yourself. Self-awareness can be fun. It’s almost like putting a puzzle together.

Heighten up your senses to what stands out for you during the course of a day. It helps you identify what’s important to you so you can factor those into your business journey. For me, it’s noticing children, happy couples, and people’s moods. I love to people watch and notice when a person looks sad. I take note of businesses that go out of business and speculate on the circumstances. I wonder, did the owners give up? You can almost always find something that will satisfy you and the needs of the people you serve.

A Measurable Contract With Yourself

In business, setting measurable goals can help your business direction and ultimately its success. Most people find business success using a combination of their interests, values, passions and skills. Write down the actions you will take and what behaviors will you change in order to get there. Make your it specific enough where you can see progress and allow you the opportunity to praise yourself for small wins that will eventually turn into larger ones. Writing it down also makes things more concrete and establishes a contract with yourself. You’ll keep growing, refining and expanding as you move along.

The Power of Masterminding

This point was brought up in Lynette Chandler’s post. She says, “Now to figure out, what or who can be the GPS for your business? I think the answer is fairly obvious. It is a good business coach or a group of like minded people like a mastermind group made up of people you can trust.” Think about the power of gaining the insights of an expert or group of experts brainstorming and networking together and gaining perspective at a much quicker pace. Plus, it’ll help you stay accountable. Here are a few I belong to Blogging Concentrated, Solo Masterminds, Lynn Terry’s Private Brainstorming Group, MyNams (some of these have free and paid memberships).

Notes From An Introvert: Exposure & Profit – A Supercharged Event!

Exposure and Profit TorontoIt’s not often I become easily inspired. Heck, I’ve read just about every self-help book and watched every TED talk there is. So in my mind, I’ve seen it and heard it all. It’s a bit distorted, I know. But I’ve set my mind on making new waves of inspiration for my readers and myself.

I thrive on helping others grow – feel better, be happier. It’s the reason why I’ve chosen all of my careers in helping fields. So when I decided to go to Kelly McCausey’s (my business coach) Exposure and Profit live event last weekend, I went in support of her – at first. Along the way, I accumulated some unbelievable and unsolicited inspiration that surprised me and left me wanting more.

Dealing With Cold Feet

I would be lying if I said I didn’t get cold feet once the date was approaching. I’m, well, an introvert and although I love people, mingling in a group setting is just not my thing. It never has been as it sucks the energy out of me, drenches my thoughts, therefore, affecting my ability to engage in small talk. You wouldn’t know it if you lived in my home though. I’m as loud, bubbly and teenage-like as they come. They say being extroverted comes in handy when networking. Many people report that the connections made at live events can literally help your business explode. So, in an effort to unfold my big plan for Sparkplugging, I was all in – nerves and all.

After the first day’s worth of presentations were over, I couldn’t help but to perseverate over the aha’s. The second day was the same and I began to indulge in regret for not participating in the mastermind session the day before the main event. My loss indeed.

Beyond all of that however, the energy there was cosmic and reassuring. I walked out feeling like I could conquer the world. I completely get what the whole buzz surrounding live events is all about now but I think this one was especially special.

Wow! What Takeaways

“What would awesome you do?” – Nicole Dean

Nicole an at Exposure and Profit TorontoNicole Dean was one of the keynote speakers and took philanthropy to another level for me. Nicole’s message spoke to my soul, as she believes in making the web and world a better place – ditto! She goes to an animal shelter and hugs kittens as a way to give back, which not only helps her have a better day but also socializes the kittens so that they are more adoptable. Also inspiring was the fact that her online business has allowed her husband to quit his job, which translates into more time for them to spend together. What an aspiration for newcomers like me! Tidbit: The importance of giving back.

Connie Regan Greene at Exposure and Profit

Self Publishing is a stepping stone to greater opportunities.” – Connie Ragen Greene

Connie Regan Greene encouraged that you can be an author of a book if you want to be. Connie has written several books (in physical form) without the help of a major publisher. She described the ease of the process and her wisdom on the importance of owning your content. She gave some extraordinary examples on how your can turn what you already have into a book, info product – or any other format for that matter. Tidbit: Do the work once and keep profiting from it over and over.

“When in doubt, embrace discomfort.” – Justin Popovic

Justing Popovic at Exposure and ProfitJustin Popvic was another keynote speaker whom I admire for his appreciation for personal development. He literally quit his job cold turkey before he launched his business. He shared (with pictures) his array of emotions throughout the years as he was managing the trials that crossed his path as he was growing his business. Tidbit: Get through the lows to get to the highs. Absolutely moving!

Dan Morris at Exposure and ProfitRachel Martin at Exposure and ProfitDan Morris and Rachel Martin- Besides frequently reminding us that his name is, ummmm, “Dan” (you had to be there to get it – pretty funny guy), he and his partner Rachel talked about knowing your audience.

“When fans become cheerleaders, you achieve leverage.” – Dan Morris and Rachel Martin

Things like what they say, think, feel and do are crucial in your leadership and it will turn your audience into raving cheerleaders. Also, have you ever considered sponsorships? Well, surprisingly it’s easier than I thought. Tidbit: Don’t be afraid to approach companies for sponsorships if they have a product that can be beneficial for your audience.

“Video is mandatory” – Derral Eves

Derral Eves at Exposure and ProfitDerral Eves’s presentation rocked the world of most attendees. Five seconds is all you have to capture your audience attention when you’re using video in your marketing efforts. Let’s just say, he did just that to a T during his presentation – very insightful info + entertaining! However, what was most touching was how he captivated the hearts of viewers in a video he put together for his brother who needed a kidney transplant. The video raised double the amount of money his brother needed to get his kidney. If you ever wondered about the power of video and You Tube, he’s your man. Tidbit: You want your videos to create some type of reaction for your audience whether they like it or not. Why? Because You Tube gives you credit for engagement so either way you benefit.

Email is the glue in your marketing” – Alice Seba

Alice Seba at Exposure and ProfitAlice Seba knows the power of email marketing. I’m on her list and she sure practices what she preaches. One of her messages is to leverage the power of email because your email list is yours, unlike your followers on social media platforms. She advocates to send emails all of the time. And, if your subscribers don’t want your emails or are angry that you are selling them something, they are not the right people for your list. So, they need to go. Tidbit: Train your audience to do something in every email you send.

Kelly McCausey at Exposure and ProfitKelly McCausey  is content curator extraordinaire and although she did not present on a topic even though she hosted the event, I can vouch for the great information she brings to the table all of the time as my coach. At Exposure & Profit, Kelly provided some darn good tidbits. For one, she shared her reasons for not presenting and subtly described how, since starting her business; she always brought the “experts” to her peeps. In essence, you don’t need to be the expert; you just need to find them based on what your people want.  So if you feel like you don’t know enough of anything to start your business, well, you don’t have to.

Mission Accomplished (well, partially)

So there it is. The event was pegged as an “introvert friendly” affair, which was appealing to me and I’m sure most other introverts in the room. My goal was to take lead of my special attributes and make the most of the event on my terms; although, I wasn’t opposed to stretching out my limits. I made checklist for myself as a way to push my boundaries. I decided I was going to approach some pretty cool people (most of them speakers) whom I admire in the online marketing business space. I wanted to thank them for their inspiration. Did I do so? Here it goes….

  • Nicole Dean (check)
  • Alice Seba (check)
  • Connie Regan Greene (check)
  • Sharyn Sheldon (check)
  • Justin Popovic (well, not quite) But 4 out of 5 is not bad. And just in case you get to read this Justin, your PLR rocks!

As far as I’m concerned, introversion is the new cool. Even though group settings are less than ideal for me, the energy and connections made at Exposure and Profit blew my “innie” socks off my feet.

Wish you were there? No prob. You can get the recordings right here.

Criticism: Dealing With It In Business

dealing with criticismYet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homepreneurs a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.

Today’s Q is:

How do you handle criticism in your business online and offline?

Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:

dealing with criticismWhen it comes to criticism with my business the way I react really depends on how the person doing the criticism comes across and whether I invited it. There are times I have asked for input and received constructive criticism. It is also inevitable to come across people who feel the need to criticize what I am trying to build online without invitation.

For the ones who are in business both online and offline that offer constructive criticism I welcome that with open arms. I am completely open to those who genuinely want to give you advice and these are the people I seek out for input. I will also embrace it from successful business owners who just offer it up to me. It is not always easy to hear what people think you are doing wrong or what you can be doing better, but if presented to you in an honest non judgmental way it could help your business ten fold.

Now and again I have dealt with people that feel the need to criticize just because they think they can. I deal with this side of criticism on a person by person basis. I haven’t had to deal with this a whole heck of a lot thankfully but it can be frustrating even on a small scale. My general rule is to change the conversation if I feel the person is being overly critical of something they know nothing about. I rarely try to explain to what I call “know it alls” that don’t have any sort of business to base their criticism on. However, if they just seem a little misinformed or uninformed based on stereotypes of work at home moms, I will take some time to educate them about it.

So in a nut shell I deal with it as it comes and as gracefully as I can.

Samantha Angel from Advancing Steps says:

dealing with criticismCriticism is one of those things that is necessary for growth. I haven’t always been so open to it though. When I was younger, I had a very thin skin. I took every criticism to heart and rather than benefit from it I took offense. There is, of course, those out there that criticize without the intent to help you get better in your efforts. Over the years, I’ve learned that most of the time you can learn something from it, even when it isn’t intended to help. Even though it may hurt at the time there is always something you can learn from it. This is a sensitive but so important subject that I’ve written a couple of posts about feeling the heat on my blog: I Just Got My Butt Kicked and Constructive Feedback Sometimes Hurts.

My Insights

dealing with criticismYou’re on the path to success. And many times thinking big or unconventionally brings about a whole lot of talk whether it be from family, friends or random people who just feel the need to share their two cents – many times unsolicited. Entrepreneurial people tend to be magnets for that kind of chatter.  At some point, putting yourself out there will result in some fool saying something that’s not so hot.  It can be severely draining and sometimes even zap your motivation. But for the most part, when you jump into the entrepreneurial space it’s inevitable.

Feedback is not always meant to be hurtful though. I’ve learned to keep an open mind because there are times when you will not have all the right answers. A view from a different lens, especially from people who have been there, could serve some good. But still, it’s not always easy to digest. I can definitely relate to our Sparkplugging advisors on that.

So how do you manage criticism especially in the “social” age we live in? Face it. Your negative critics are not going away. So on that note, make sure to stay put and stand your ground. Just learn to equip yourself with some hardy armor and tough love and you’ll find yourself being less affected by it as time goes on.

Here are some tips I’ve collected along the way:

1. Keep pushing through it. If you are truly committed to your craft, this will be much easier to accomplish. There is less of a barrier to bounce back when you truly believe in what you and your business stand for. The more steps you continue to take forward, the more confident you’ll become.

2. Minimize impulsivity. Social media can be particularly scary because you’re absorbing a blow in front of a boatload of people. This could potentially lead to a crisis in your business that can negatively affect your  reputation. Gain some awareness in how you feel (defensive, angry, inadequate, etc.) but chill out. I’m sure you’ve heard about all of the Twitter rants. You can’t change your feelings but you can control how you react. You might make a bad situation worse by impulsively countering your critics in public.

3. Don’t internalize it. Keep an open mind in order to correct your course if necessary or simply ignore. Change your perspective on criticsm by viewing it as a learning experience. It minimizes the negative impact on your psyche and how it is expressed in your business.

4. Accept that it’s an integral part of success. The more successful you become in your business the more exposed you will be to criticism. Use it as fuel and validation that you are making big strides. Perhaps it’s a sign that you are moving in the right direction.

I asked this question because in addition to wanting to learn about how other homepreneurs manage criticism, I figured it would also serve to bring some empowerment in knowing that others have been there. I’ve learned to become well versed in resiliency because it helps with enduring the challenges and hardships that come with entrepreneurship. Most of the time, negative feedback is more about your critic’s baggage than it is about you. You are going against the grain, taking massive action and reminding others that they don’t have the guts to do what you’ve done or to go where you’re going.

**Webinar tomorrow, May 1, 2014 @1pm EST: Building a Super Successful Micro Subscription Program**

Home-based Business Workspace: Ideas to make it work

home business workspaceYet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.

Today’s Q is:

Tell us about your workspace at home and how do keep your business endeavors organized?

Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:

home business workspaceI’m very fortunate to have a dedicated office in my home. I have two  file cabinets, two desks, a printer, two computers, a laptop, and from years of doing this, all the office paraphernalia one would expect plus two comfortable chairs and some bookcases. Since my husband helps me in my business one station is his and one is mine. I barely use the filing cabinet or the printer or other stuff anymore. I use Dropbox to keep all my files organized. I scan receipts to keep them in a file for tax purposes, which is practically the only reason the printer is used, and file warranty information in one of the file cabinets.

I use my office only for working. When I want to have fun and play around I go use my laptop in the living room on the couch. This gives me a nice feeling of separation, so that when I am off work, I am off work. Plus it keeps me from wasting time on social media. I use my laptop for work when I am away from the house, or sometimes, like now, when I’m writing something like this and need a change of pace after writing all day long. But mostly, I use my lap top for “off duty” stuff.

I have a desk that allows me to sit or stand. I read that sitting for more than 4 hours a day increases your chances of sudden and early death exponentially, so I had my husband build me a desk that enables me to stand while working. At first I thought it would be hard, but I find that I am actually more productive when I stand.

I have set working hours and days. I do work “over time” when needed, but mostly I try to limit that and get my work done within the parameters that I’ve set. I used to feel like I worked 24/7 and now I don’t. Sure, sometimes I work overtime and on my days off, but that only happens when I need to rearrange something or before and after going on vacation.

I’m very fortunate having this space and all the supplies and equipment that I need. Back when I first started, I had an office in the living room stuffed behind the couch. It was difficult, with the kids running through the room, watching TV and so forth, but it was all I had at the time.

One great thing is that today,  working from home virtually means that I need very little paper or other supplies other than a computer, the Internet, and the right software since I now keep all  files organized in my Dropbox, there’s not much to it. My expenses are low, and I run lean and mean.

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

home business workspaceAfter going through 3 computers in one year, I decided to store everything on the cloud. I use Evernote to capture things online or store them on my Google drive where I can grab them from my phone as well as any computer. I store things in folders based on the product I’m creating or the client I’m working with.

Although I have a home office, I often find myself working from my bedroom.  The biggest fault is that it is easy to lose track of time, and I’ll send emails out at 3am.  Once upon a time that didn’t matter, but now that smart phones are notifying people of emails, it becomes a problem when I wake someone up with my late night (or early morning) emails!

My Insights

home business workspaceWorking from home can offer many perks. For one, it offers the opportunity for flexibility, which is especially gratifying for people like me who value freedom.  But with the perks also come disadvantages and one of those is maintaining an organized space for your business, which can be quite difficult when you have the distractions from your home life.

Working from home requires some thought especially when you are just starting out. A goal should be to create a working space that is suitable for you and works for both your personal and business life. For me, feeling physically comfortable when I’m working, noise control and keeping things organized are pretty important.

Although I do have an extra room with a desk, like Brenda, I find myself working out of my guest bedroom because my back and legs get tired from sitting for long periods and I also like to elevate my legs on the bed. I find that I tend to stay more productive in that position. I do bursts of exercise in between to keep my circulation flowing and mind clear. I’ve also considered getting a higher desk to work while standing like Stephanie discussed because of the negative health effects of sitting for long periods.

I also need complete silence to work effectively because I get highly distracted and lose my focus really quickly. It takes me much longer to get it back. Therefore, when I start to work, my husband knows that I’m in work mode and doesn’t overstep that boundary. Maintaining boundaries with your family is really important especially if you are sensitive to noise and distractions like I am. Having a chat with your family or even putting up a sign on your door or work area can help establish an understanding where after a while, you won’t even have to say or do anything.

In keeping things organized, I keep all of my business related things in one room and just bring my laptop with me when I move around in my home. The majority of my files are in digital format so most of the time my laptop will suffice. If I do work on my desk, it has to be completely bare. I can’t work in an area that is messy and cluttered. It doesn’t allow me to think clearly or creatively.

The key, I think, is to find a space that works for you and contributes to your sanity, health and  productivity. From a psychological standpoint, structuring and finding a “place for business” in your home will separate your home life with your business endeavors. Assess your personality and find a home setup that will best contribute to your business success. Your home-based business workspace and the way you organize your biz endeavors is an expression of your personality. Try to create an environment where you will feel most empowered to do your best work and will enhance your productivity.

Have you assessed and reconsidered your home business workspace lately?

Pinterest Tips for Business

Pinterest Tips for BusinessPinterest is reported to have over 70 million users and has surpassed email as one of the top sharing platforms online according to Share This.  It’s no wonder why so may businesses are riding the wave of Pinterest. With these stats, I became curious as to what made this channel so darn powerful. So, after getting past the learning curve, I went on a hunt to figure some things out. If you still don’t get what Pinterest is all about take a look at this cute and short video  (less than 2 minutes) to gain some understanding on how it works.

For businesses, Pinterest is a great tool because you can share content by way of appealing images, graphics, pictures etc. that can ultimately increase your sales. Since many people absorb better through visuals, the growth of Pinterest is  expected to continue to stay on the rise.

So, in light of this predicted growth, I set out to research the most recent and popular articles online related to Pinterest in an effort to gain some understanding. Learning some Pinterest tips for business will improve my overall interaction level on this platform through the use of methods and tools in order to bring more visitors to my websites. Here’s what I found:

Copyblogger's Pinterest WorksDoes Pinterest convert? According to Copyblogger’s Pinterest Works article, heck yeah and they have proof to show it. Copyblogger is considered one of the pioneers of blogging so when they have something to say, I usually listen. I enjoyed this article because I was a skeptic myself on the power of Pinterest for business. Delineated in it is some social proof of how this amazing tool drives thousands of referral traffic to a couple of online publishers. It also offers a simple step-by-step process on how you can use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your website. Copplyblogger debunks the the Pinterest naysayers.

Smart Strategies for PinterestNeed more proof? Here it is. This blogger shrugged Pinterest off because she thought her “marketing” and “tech” themes weren’t visually enticing enough to use Pinterest. Therefore, she embarked on a research bend and now Pinterst is her second top referral source for social traffic. She offers 40+ strategies to drive more traffic.

Optimize your imagesHow do you optimize your images for more traffic? This is one of my favorites because Cynthia Sanchez offers a video on how to do this exactly through the use keyword rich descriptions to help your pins be found. She also offers a podcast that may be helpful.

 

Hashtags for PinterestHow are Hashtags used? Hashtags are profusely used in in many social marketing platforms. Hashtags use on Pinterest, as per this article, is used differently than on twitter. If you want to learn to use of Hashtags for Pinterest for better search results, this resource offers 7 tips.

Must follow Pinterest BoardsIf what you’ve heard is that Pinterst is mostly a social media platform for recipes, arts & crafts and shoes well, here is a list of 15 bloggers using Pinterest for their blogging efforts. From SEO to Internet Marketing and social media pinboards, take a look at how these bloggers use Pinterest. It will give you a some ideas on how to combine blogging and Pinterest in creative ways.

Tools for PinterestWant to know what the best tools are to heighten the efficiency of Pinterest for your business? Here are 9 tools shared in this article by Business 2 Community that can help you make the best of your Pinterest pinboards. From Pinterest analytics to creating an online store on Pinterest you’ll be able to find at least one item on the list that you’ll be able to put to use right away.
Tricks for Pinterest

Besides tools, learn some Pinterest tricks that all bloggers should consider – 7 to be exact. In this article, Hello Society dishes out some cool tricks that can catapult your blogging and put you on the  Pinterest map. Up until know, I have just been posting my social friendly images attached to my blog content all over social media but with this article, I learned to not only have an exclusive blogging content pinboard but also exclusive images for Pinterst. This entices people to keep coming back for more so you can continue to optimize this avenue further in your marketing. There are also examples of blog content boards that just got my creative juices flowing all over the place.

Pinterest PlacesIn November of 2013, Pinterest introduced Place Pins which as per Pinterest, combines the imgery of a travel magazine with an online map. Social Media Examiner shows you 6 ways in which you can promote your business with this new feature. It also has a tutorial on how to create a Place Board.

 

 

 

Get Paid What You’re Worth in Your Business

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growingmo money their businesses from home.

Today’s Q is:

What is your strategy for pricing your offers so that you are getting paid what you’re worth in your business?

Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:

make more moneyThis is a very important topic and not one easily tackled when you go to set your prices whether it be a service or a product. Having a good strategy to get paid your worth is fundamental to the success of your business.

Everyone should, in my opinion, always follow these 3 strategic yet simple rules:

  1. Know the value of what you are offering. (What would you pay, not what you want people to pay. Choose at least 3 prices).
  2. Research. (Know what your competitors are charging and charge competitively without undercutting your value).
  3. Don’t be afraid to test prices (Start with your highest ideal price and offer discounts using other projected prices).

If you value yourself too low potential clients will not take you seriously. If you do not do your research you will not be effectively competitive. If you test your prices you could increase your sales dramatically (don’t price lower than your lowest valued price).

I have used these rules for years. The training on the value of a successful business I had to learn in the last time I worked in the corporate world stuck with me and now I apply them to what I offer!

Stephanie Watson from Monthly Content Helpers says:

make more moneySince 90 percent of the work I do is content writing, it’s not really very difficult for me to price my offerings. I price by the package or by the article and give discounts for bulk orders. The one thing I had to realize is that I am not competing to be the low cost leader.  I want to work with serious online and offline business owners who want quality content that provides value to their audience. I don’t want to work for people who only care about getting the lowest price without being concerned about quality.

Once I realized all that, it was simple to set my prices. While I have package rates, it all started with knowing how many hours I can work a week and how much I need to earn. That helped me create my goal hourly rate. Then I figured out how long it took me to research and write an average article. That helped me create my package rates. I also learned that if I have 5 or 10 articles to write on the same subject I can do all the research at once, and pass on the discount to my clients.

I receive inquires from all types of business owners seeking content, some do want to pay me less than I am worth. I have figured out my worth and I don’t accept positions that don’t pay me what I have figured out I need and deserve. That’s not to say I didn’t at first.

Sometimes you do have to stick your toes in, do a lot of low paying work in order to build up your resume and confidence. But, after getting experience and building a reputation, people start wanting to hire you for your expertise as much as the tasks that you do. Once that happens, you can command the fees that you deserve.

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

make more moneyI let people know what my highest prices are and then ask for their budget. Then I build a plan for them that might offer less services but still be as valuable for them and their business. The idea is that once I get them more customers, they will be able to afford to scale it up.

My Insights

make more moneyThe topic of money is a sensitive subject for many people and can be a huge stressor for an entrepreneur who may have a predetermined expectation of having the hard work pay off big time. It is particularly pressure provoking when factoring in supporting a family or when frequently entertaining the thought of making enough to pay the bills. Money in general evokes feelings of many colors. So having all things to consider, is there a way to price your products and services so that you’re making what you are actually worth?

A huge point shared by some of the Sparkplugging advisors was the caution of undervaluing yourself. As I agree with this view I also believe pricing may be influenced a bit by your viewpoints and personal relationship with money.  The task of pricing can become quite challenging and it is a task that is of superb importance for the success of your business.

Think about when you had to slap a figure on one of your products or services. Were you ever worried about things like, “My customer won’t be able to afford the price?”  Or, “My customer won’t want to work with me if my price is too high.” Or, what about, “My competition will steal my customer?” These and similar thoughts will most likely be reflected in your pricing decisions.

So what is your worth? In addition to factoring in your internal money dialogue, here is a summary of some of the ideas presented by our Sparkplugging panel. Plus, a few other tidbits I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Have a clear picture of your priorities, personal goals and vision for your business. However, take an honest look at where you’re at right now. If you need money immediately you might have to start on a less than ideal end, work your customer through your sales funnel and scale up as you progress.
  2. Be honest with your value and provide real justification by demonstrating how your product or service will be beneficial to your customer. Don’t assume your customer is clear about the benefits of your product or service.
  3. Figure out who your customer is and what particular market you are serving. I figured this out when I was running my cleaning business several years ago and realized that our service didn’t just provide cleaning. We provided aesthetics too as it included detailing, organizing and de-cluttering living spaces in the homes of people in affluent communities. It was a service that our customers proudly paid a hefty amount for because many of them had a certain image to maintain and they had the financial means to pay for the service.
  4. If your customers are always haggling for discounts, are you working with the right people? For example, my husband, a graphic tee designer and seller, is frequently approached by high school and college kids requesting discounts or freebies. Offering discounts is tempting because it’ll bring in some money and exposure but clearly, not all markets are a good fit for what you have to offer. Choose your customers wisely and consider your positioning and messaging.
  5. Factor in your costs and what you want to earn. You’ll want to cover your expenses plus take in a profit at the end.

Although you may have to consider many other factors in your pricing depending on the type of business you’re in, when it comes to getting paid what you’re worth also take into account your wisdom, skills, and creativity. There is no one in this world that has a replica of all your personal assets and your expression of them.  Therefore, put them to use, accept your worth and gain the ability to proceed with confidence to strut your stuff.  After all, don’t you deserve it?

Here’s How to Get Inspired When You’re Feeling Stuck as an Entrepreneur

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.inspiration

Today’s Q is: 

Where do you find inspiration when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in your business?

Helena Bowers from Your Message Amplified says:

headshot-dec-2012-100When I hit a plateau in my business the first thing I try to do is get out of my own way. I know that I have the tendency to make things harder than they have to be, so the first place I look for inspiration is outside in nature. I’ll often take my camera and head to the river for a long walk and some quiet time communing with the ducks. The stillness gives me the space I need to get out of my own head and let the ideas flow. More often than not I end up coming home with a pretty good idea of what my next step should be, as well as a fresh batch of pictures to work with!

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

BrendaFunky_me.jpgI’m not sure if I ever run out of ideas. The reason is because I get them from my clients. They come to me with new questions before I even know I have an answer.

 

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says:

jessica-leeI love this question because I think it’s so important to feel inspired when working.  When I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, I know it’s because I am over thinking things and not letting the business flow organically. That signals me to step back and take a few hours off doing something enjoyable that is unrelated to business, such as taking a ride or baking.  Usually, once I get into a relaxed state, ideas will quickly start to flow again.

Another thing I do is keep inspiration boards on Pinterest.  I pin blogs that I admire and articles that I have enjoyed reading.  When I go back and reread these pieces, I remember what I loved about them, and this often gets my creative juices flowing.

I also have several book excerpts highlighted on various Kindle books.  Sometimes, one great quote or a few paragraphs from a chapter is enough to inspire me.  For me, it’s all about not fighting the current.  Trying to force things when they’re not happening naturally is not fun.  Relaxing, taking a step back, and having inspiration boards that I can refer to works really well for me.

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

profile-reba100x100I find inspiration in almost everything, every person, and everywhere I go.  I try to look for the good and ignore the bad, so I watch for the little things from which I can draw ideas. Family is big in my life and there’s always someone telling of how they found a great item or need something to make their lives easier. I try to apply those conversations to my business.

Since my business is an online business, I’m a member in a lot of Facebook groups and forums with others in my niche. I go to those places every day and never fail to learn something new. Everything new thing I learn I can apply to my business, so honestly, I’m never short on inspiration. In fact, I have so many ideas; I don’t have time to handle them all. It’s rare that I hit a plateau with such great people touching my life on a daily basis. [Read more...]

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