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**

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...]

Passion In Business Won’t Pay the Bills. Or Will It?

A few years ago, my husband and I drove out to Ocean City, Maryland for a mini vacation. I admit, I wasn’t completelymonster01 present in the moment of the experience. I felt almost guilty for immersing myself in a pleasurable activity when my thoughts were wrecked and lost with the “would haves” and “should haves” of my life. It’s as if I had unfinished business to do (literally) and I was wasting time by not attending to it “immediately.”

What would my life look like if I had stuck it through in 2002 and not sold my very modest sized business?  Would I be feeling fulfilled professionally? Would I have wanted to get up every morning oh so vibrantly and ready to take take on the day?

Have you ever experienced an intense feeling of knowing you were meant to do something else?

Something bolder. Something better. Something that screams PASSION.

Granted, I am immensely grateful and proud to have collected  degrees that have afforded me the opportunity to earn a decent living. But in that journey, I failed to realize that I had spent a decade searching to fill a void and I was looking to fill it in all the wrong places.

What the heck is blogging?

Prior to my decision to venture out into the online world, I had been following one blogger – Pat Flynn. Of course, I didn’t realize he was a “blogger” back then. I didn’t even understand how blogging worked. I’ve always been sort of a laggard when it came to technology and online trends.

But I just knew that somehow, with my limited knowledge of technology, I was going to figure out how to start a business online – one that I intensely connected with.

So when I got home from my trip, I began to fanatically search for ways to start a business that I could fall in love with. And there were a few things I learned in my old offline business that allowed me to be crystal clear about what I wanted. Here they go:

  1. I wanted to start a business from home.
  2. I was passionate about business, personal development and wellness and wanted to find a way to inspire people.
  3. I wanted to earn a full time income.
  4. I wanted to stay healthy and sane while doing it.
  5. I wanted enough time left to engage with the people who matter to me the most.

Passion vs. Customers

There is much to be said about giving your customers what they want.

However, I’m really feeling the idea of doing what you love, then finding the right customers.

I read a great article by Jonathan Fields recently. My takeaway was the notion that often times other areas of your life compensate for the dysfunction created around a business that is ultimately not a good fit for you.

In retrospect, that’s exactly what happened with my old business. In essence, I bought myself a J-O-B. My customers became my bosses and the situation was possibly the equivalent of my worse job yet.

Why? Because I was responsible for creating it.

Black or White?

There are various schools of thought in entrepreneurship. There are some who say passion won’t help you create a successful business. Yet others who beg to differ.

I go with the latter.

I believe passion will keep your engine running. It will also sustain your thinking on your feet and motivate you enough to keep you moving forward. As you progress, you will learn to find solutions to obstacles that will come, and these will enhance the skills necessary to help you reach your vision.

There will be forks on the road… [Read more...]

Sparking Ideas To Stay Motivated This Summer

spark-an-ideaThis week’s Spark an Idea Thursday we’re tackling a great topic in perfect timing.   A lot of people are quick to tell you that the summer will being a slow down, so may as well accept it.

I personally refuse to accept anything so defeatist ;)

I’m glad to see that our awesome Sparkplugging Authors have a similar attitude.

  • Susan is sharing tips for avoiding the summer slump.
  • Laurie says to go outside as much as possible.
  • Lorna says to remember why you’re doing all this in the first place.
  • Crissy has a free summer business guide for you.
  • Michelle and Jenn tell us to keep our mojo burning.
  • Brandie says to ignore what you feel and just get busy!
  • Lynette says to think ahead and take advantage of automation.

Spark an Idea With Us!

Next week, June 4th the Spark an Idea Thursday Meme Theme is “Spark an Idea that Shows Appreciation” – Write about how you’ve shown appreciation to a client or business colleague in the past.

Participate in our meme by posting your Spark an Idea Thursday by 9am Eastern. Tweet me (@kellymccausey) about it and I’ll include your link in my round up in the afternoon :)  Just grab our image and get your post ready for June 4th!

When You Want To Do Something

want

Last night I bought my son a desk as a graduation present.  Having had his eye on this desk for a couple of months, he was geeked about bringing it home at last. He couldn’t wait to tear it open and put it together.

The long time ‘Lego Maniac’ had no trouble reading instructions and whipping the pieces together – something that would have had me pulling my hair out for sure. It was hard work.  It required particular attention to detail.  He’d never done anything quite like before but he tackled it like a pro.  It was hot and stuffy in his room and he didn’t even seem to mind.

Fast forward to today.  The cardboard box, packing materials, tools and a whole bunch of other stuff lay all over my living room floor.  I ask him to take care of things and finish putting his room back together and he tells me ‘It’s so hot and muggy – I’ll do it later.”

Yeah, that went over about as well with me as you think it did. [Read more...]

Monday Motivation :: Planning for Distractions

Monday Motivation Home Office NinjaIt hardly feels real to say it, but summer is right around the corner. My kids have 3 weeks of school left… and then… my silent work at home haven will transform into a chaotic messy disaster for three months straight. I both look forward to and dread summer. I love getting time with the kids, taking them out to Millennium Park and the Zoo and all, but they also eat me out of house and home and make working well… challenging, to say the least.

So it’s time to start planning for summer now. Last year my 94 Ways to Keep Kids Busy for the Work at Home Parent post was so dang popular it made it to the front page of Digg. In fact, it was so popular that it was the reason I spun off Shannon’s Seasonal Kids Activities blog. She focuses on kids crafts and activities that only need materials you likely already have in your home, like her recipe for slime, making Origami balls, and some super cute spring crafts.

But for me, keeping the kids happy in the summer is only half the battle. I tend to want to go outside and play instead of work, and I admittedly have a harder time focusing with all the chaos in the background. So I’m toying with the idea of coming up with some kind of summer work schedule. I’ve resisted that kind of structure in the past, but the business is getting to the point where I don’t know how else I’ll manage everything that is going on. So, Brandie, do you have any time management suggestions for us?

Today, though, the kids are still in school. And I’m going to milk every last minute they are there. I’ll get a little ambitious this week with Monday Motivation, and here’s how it works:

Step 1 – let us know what you are going to get done today (your to-do list, so to speak).

Step 2 – put it in a comment below or a post on your own site.

Step 3 - let us know what will motivate you to get it done – a reward, consequences, or whatever you need to think that will ensure you do what you say you are going to do. I’ve found that the public announcement and accountability is a particularly great motivator, but throw down consequences if you really need a kick in the pants to get stuff done! Unless, of course, you are working towards a new laptop too, in which case I think the reward is particularly motivating.

We don’t care how you get it done, we just want to support you in reaching your goals.

Today before I go to sleep I will:

  • Set up a conference call with Lijit to get them set up on Sparkplugging
  • Create a house ad for the ProBlogger book
  • Get through the 252 emails in my inbox
  • 3 loads of laundry

And by the end of the week I will:

  • Have a project timeline in place for a new ‘Sparkplug U’ project I’ve been planning in my head for months
  • Go for two bike rides
  • Update my 10 Days to a Better Blog eCourse (which still says we’re ‘eMoms’, and still hasn’t been moved to the new domain yet!)
  • Send an update email to my mailing list
  • Make cookies for my hubby, our 10 year anniversary is this week!! :)

If I don’t have all of this done by the end of the week, I will go without coffee and tea for a week (Oh, I HATE it when I fail when I throw down that leverage!!).

So what are you going to get done today or this week?

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