Set Your Feet on a Firm Foundation

Set Your Feet on a Firm Foundation

Wrapping up 2020: You May Say I’m a Dreamer, But I’m Not the Only One

If you follow my blog, you’ll probably see I love to weave in my favorite song titles and lines and sprinkle my writing with funny personal tales of my daily work and personal life to guide women through business and messaging strategy.

Can we dig deeper today?

In January of this year, I went against my personal grain and did two things. I made a vision board and picked a word of the year. You might wonder why this was outside my norm. Well, I never liked the concept of vision boards I had heard in the past- basically, put a bunch of visuals on a board you want to come true, and if you visualize it enough, it will come to pass in the year. As a doer, a hard worker, and a visionary at heart, I know it takes more than a wish and visualization. It takes commitment, drive, and personal accountability to see a vision birth. My sister, an amazing creative, gave a workshop to create vision boards, and the way she presented combined the pragmatism I needed with the dream. They can go together!

Now let’s talk about the pick a word thing, well, it seemed trendy and cliche. I am not trendy nor cliche. In fact, I rather fight falling in line with trends- most of the time that’s a good thing but not all of the time. This year, I didn’t go about the task of trying to do this seemingly trendy thing of sitting for some days and thinking hard for a word to pop into my brain and guide my year. The word came to me. I am a person of faith, and I remember the day I was sitting in deep thought over the direction of my business. I have many of these kind of days, but on this particular one, I was dreaming of all the big things I wanted to see happen- launch a course, start a membership group, and other big pursuits, and I heard God say, “Those things are not for this year. This year is about FOUNDATION.”

I’m a mover and shaker, and laying a flipping foundation just sounded boring and worse of all it sounded slow and very unexciting. Trust me, I tried to shove that word out of my mind as quickly as I could. Surely, if I was going to do this word thing and give myself to it, shouldn’t the word make me jump up and down?

As I’ve matured in my personal and business life, one thing I’ve learned to do is listen. When God speaks, I know the sound and the feel, and I know that the more I try to hush Him, the louder He speaks. So, I decided to embrace the word. My word was foundation. I was not to build the course, not to make the membership group, not to do any of the zippy and zingy ideas…not for this year. I was to establish a foundation.

Honestly, I didn’t even know what that was going to mean for me. As someone who is a strategist and who has strategy as her top Gallup strength, I went the way that made sense for me and contemplated what the goals would look like. In true word nerd fashion, I found a book I felt could match my most lack-luster word and started reading The Big Stretch by Teneshia Jackson Warner. It is a great read by the way with step by step guides to make big stretches over time in business.

February, I led a women’s business retreat which had been on my heart to put together since summer of the year prior, and what an amazing time I had with each woman there developing ideas, strategy, and encouraging one another. Two weeks later- COVID-19. The ‘vid showed up and I thought, “How am I supposed to build a foundation during a hurricane?”

Do you remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy’s house suddenly stopped spinning and landed? Whens she opened the door, and the movie continued in vibrant color. March and April, I was in the tornado of COVID and of personal circumstances. I was shifting, pivoting, and dodging all kinds of flying projectiles, but when my metaphorical house landed and I opened the door, the world was full of color, of hope, and of promise.

Back to that vision board, the word, and the goals I wrote in that book to strategically support the two, I changed something I originally wrote while I was still wrestling with “foundation.” I had written “launch a digital course.” After making peace with my word, I wrote, “create 20 new strong relationships.” Always being relational, at first this seemed dumb to quantify, but it was the most brilliant strategy shift I made for myself.

I began writing daily, blogging weekly, reaching out and virtual meeting other minds who resonated with mine in passion and in drive, and building my foundation. I stopped obsessing over the course and the course I was going to invest in to do the course creation correctly. I shifted from a focus on product to strengthening my process. I started taking a mad number of online courses and workshops to further my mastery of copywriting and brand messaging. Sitting at the beginning of Q4, not only do I feel more knowledgeable to serve the business community with my copywriting and messaging services, but I stand with more than 20 new strong relationships and have seen referral grow as a natural byproduct of laying a firm ground floor, and I have seen more business grow over this hairy year than I could have ever dreamed.

Where do you need to reinforce your processes, so when you do pursue the product, you are unstoppably equipped?

Making stuff happen is exciting. Watching a flower grow is not, but when the flower blooms something beautiful and fragrant, you are thankful you watered the soil and fertilized it, and did all the other unexciting tasks to cultivate a thing of beauty.

Hold onto your dream in this season, but more than that, dress it by engaging the processes, habits, and skills you need to ensure it blooms in its due season. I don’t know what next year’s word will be, but I do know building a foundation was so worth the work and worth the wait. Don’t give up because the dream takes time. Let your dream and the One who made the dream take your hand down an unforgettable journey.

Remember, circumstance does not determine outcomes. 2020 doesn’t have that much power girlfriend.

I’m rooting for you!

Dream Big and Shine On!

Geneva

 

Sensitive Selling: Messaging During Economic Hardship

If you are a business owner, you sell something- product or service. At the end of the day, if you make sales, you have business. No sales=no business. 

Businesses all over our country, both small and large, are facing tough times. People are carefully spending feeling unsure of their own personal finances. If you own a business, you may feel unsure of how to sensitively sell in these times.

Here are some tips to help you communicate during the time of COVID-19.

1. Revist your ideal customer’s pain points. They might be the same as before this virus, or perhaps they need to be tweaked. I don’t need certain items for the same reasons as I did before- work clothes, jewelry, makeup for instance for the purpose of looking professional in the workplace, but sellers of these items might be able to sell me on using this time to clean and refresh my wardrobe, send gifts for important occasions partner with them on some kind of charitable giving through my purchase, or an occasional purchase as “self-care” stress relief shopping.

2. Focus on soft sell strategies. Find ways right now to educate on your product’s features, tell about your history with your company, and build value through mini-workshops or live events. People don’t want to be sold to right now. They don’t want to be sold to ever, but especially right now. The sell is easy when the potential client decides to choose you- there is a feeling of, “I chose to buy that. This use of my money is good for me,” versus, “I felt guilty to not buy from my friend or local small business,” or “She pushed so hard I bought a little something to make her stop messaging me.” Let people choose you, because what you give is so much more than what they feel they feel they will give.

3. Resist the urge to jump on every new social media page popping up to support local businesses to showcase your brand. Fight to stop splattering your links across every outlet that will permit it. Quite often, when we do this, we’re forgetting WHO we are really for. Who do you champion? Who are you the hero or heroine for with your skills and products? Community pages are great to showcase businesses in our local communities, but focusing a lot of effort on these pages where everyone is trying to also show their brands is not likely energy well spent in terms of ROI. When this crisis passes, these pages will likely see stalled traffic. Ask yourself if the traffic on the page you feel you should post on are your people. If you can’t yell and fistpump a “hell yeah!” then stop and go find where your people are. Work on building your social media page, your website, or your email templates. Spend some time on items 1 and 2 above and then outline a purposeful plan to move strategically through the next few months.

SOS Please Someone Help Me

Two weeks ago, I was drowning in paperwork, meetings, writing, and coaching. Flailing. OMGee. Send me a life preserver.

I decided one Sunday evening that what I needed STAT was to create some margin in my time for the upcoming week. The tasks on my plate were all “have-tos,” so there was no putting off or choosing to not do one of them. Also, I’m a big believer in never compromising small self-care tasks like reading, journaling, or praying/meditating, so taking time away from my 30 minutes of me-time with my coffee was not an option.
As I mulled over my plight (anxiety), I had an “AHA” moment- social media had to go for 4 days of the workweek, and I would reenter FB land on Friday, when the week was coming to a close and my tasks were completed. I normally spend 10 hours a week alone on social media for my women’s networking group between content development, event planning and communication, and general engagement. Throw in my business page, and while I am not a FB junkie, I do like to catch up with the goings-on of the day that people post after the end of my workdays, so let’s say 13-15 hours a week is consumed on social media. Right there I found the time I needed. 13-15 extra hours is a lot of time for squeezing in more work!

So I did it. I fasted all but returning some messages that came through which were pertinent to respond. I found myself one day mindlessly clicking the icon on my phone and then had to exit out ASAP- it was totally subconscious like mindless eating. Some personal observations during my 4 days off FB,
1. Surprisingly, I felt an incredible sense of FOMO- the world was happening and I felt really disconnected. A friend had a baby, and I wasn’t one of the first to see her pics. Another friend was doing some cool things on her FB business page celebrating 5 years of business.
2. Although I felt like I was missing out on some exciting things, I also felt like I dodged being sucked into Latinagate post Superbowl and impeachment political posts. I didn’t miss the FB debates for sure.
3. I found myself feeling much calmer each morning not laying in bed and jumping on FB to see what I’d missed since I got off it the night before. I think millions of people worldwide do just that. I felt more at peace each morning and focused on my morning me-time centeredness tasks.
4. I really did create more time to get things done. We’ve become so accustomed to social media as a way of life and needing of our time, but until we go without it on vacation or a self-imposed fast, we don’t realize how much time it is taking from our lives. Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time I find good value in my interactions on social media, but the time away led me to deciding I needed to tweak my day to day consumption plan to at least sticking with the practice of not going on first thing in the morning. I didn’t do that perfectly last week, but probably 3/5 days, but on the three I did, I found that small slice of morning peace with my morning joe was much greater when I was disciplined enough to stay off the Book.

We’re all busy. We all need to make margin for inner peace and quiet, for exercise, or to get shtuff done. Where can you create time?