Hands down the best podcast episode I ever did...
This week Amy Mewborn released my episode of her new podcast "Turning Lemons to Lemonade Podcast." Her podcast is dedicated to telling the true, real, not-so-pretty stories of female entrepreneurs.
Amy has a way of drawing out vulnerabilities without letting the conversation become too emotional. And that's what I loved about my conversation with her. We really talked about the things that are important to me as a woman entrepreneur. I feel like she made me look smarter than I am.
Here are some of the things we discussed:
I just love how Amy drew so many nuggets out of me that are the true cornerstones to who I am and what I do.
Here is the link >
Listen to this episode - and review Amy's podcast on iTunes. I can't wait to read your comments in the comment section below.
3 Simple Changes to Make your Life More Enjoyable Starting NOW
I know all kinds of entrepreneurs and business leaders at different types of businesses. And although for the most part these are strong, empowered people, their level of happiness varies. It is not correlated in any way to their level of earnings or success. Nor is it necessarily attached to their upbringing, or their future prospects. Happiness can be separate from external sources.
We only need to watch any reality TV show centered around the rich and famous to know that success and riches do not guarantee happiness.
So why do some people remain calm and happy while others in a similar situation are angry, critical, and sometimes even combative? Research increasingly suggests that happiness may be more a choice than a state of being. Happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky determined that only 10% of our happiness is determined by circumstances. While 40% is determined by our behavior.
Did you hear that? 40% of our level of happiness is determined by the intentional selection of activities and thoughts that make up our behavior each and every day.
So what can we do to tip the scales in favor of our happiness? Here are some ideas.
Start your day happy
Here's something no one is talking about - the happiest people you know are happy ON PURPOSE. People do not stumble upon happy lives, they make them.
Try intentionally feeling happiness in the beginning of your day. Here are some ways to start:
Guard your energy
Ever gone to Starbucks in a perfectly nice mood, only to leave angry that you just waited 15 minutes for your coffee? Or felt hopeless and dejected after spending time with a particularly negative coworker?
Your mental and physical energy are entirely yours to control. Find ways to remove energy zappers from your day in order to keep your cork floating.
... truly happy individuals construe life events and daily situations in ways that seem to maintain their happiness, while unhappy individuals construe experiences in ways that seem to reinforce unhappiness.
Its easy to focus on what we don't have. After all, there is always someone with a faster car, bigger house, more lucrative career, whatever. Spending time in gratitude for the things we do have can have major positive benefits. When you spend focused time in gratitude you train your brain to see the good things more.
Here are some simple ways to focus on gratitude:
And one more thing. If you need a higher level of care please consider counseling. It's something we all need to do more of. There is no shame in seeing a counselor in order to take your personal game to the next level.
If you can't afford counseling 12 step programs are free and really effective. I found this in a post from Beth Shaw, founder and CEO of YogaFit:
If you cannot afford therapy you can attend 12 step meetings. Everyone has something they need to work on and work out – whether it’s AA, Codependents, Alanon, Overeaters anonymous, Shopaholics, Love addicts there are even 12 step meetings for hoarders to help clutter-bust. For a full list go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twelve-step_groups
Thank you for spending time with me. If you found this post helpful or fun to read, please 'Like' it using the button below. Or share it on Twitter using the 'Tweet' button. Your likes and shares help people like you find this information.
Calm the Fire, Radiate the Light Today
For more on the science of the solstice: https://weather.com/holiday/summer/news/2018-06-20-summer-solstice-first-day-summer-northern-hemisphere-june
And for more on the history: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/977071/Summer-Solstice-2018-astrology-zodiac-signs-meaning; https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3848159/litha-2018-summer-solstice-blessings-rituals-pagans/
Summer Solstice 2018: Facts to Know About the Longest Day of the Year
Summer Solstice 2018 astrology: What does the solstice mean for your zodiac sign?
When is Litha 2018 and what summer solstice blessings and traditions do pagans follow on the longest day of the year? https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3848159/litha-2018-summer-solstice-blessings-rituals-pagans/
Thank you for spending time with me. If you found this post useful please "Like" it using the button below.
49% of Entrepreneurs Suffer - Here's What Worked for Me
No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness - Aristotle
A study from by Dr. Michael Freeman at the University of California San Francisco found that 49% of those who start a company say they have struggled with some form of mental illness in the past. 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health conditions.
Starting a company, and sticking with it, is outside the realm of what most people do. The high creativity that propels an entrepreneur can also cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, or manic disorders. This is true also for those who rise to high levels within existing companies.
My anxiety started in college and followed me through my corporate career. It started as a feeling of inadequacy that made me vulnerable to abusive and codependent behavior. Here are a few things it caused in my worst days:
Many people experience feeling paralyzed or stuck. Some have panic attacks. Some people have incessant thoughts of self doubt - the phrase "I don't know" or "f&*% this" running through their head at every situation.
I turned a corner on my anxiety with yoga and meditation. One month I made it my 30 day goal to do yoga every day, even if it was only for 10 minutes, followed by a short meditation. At the end of thirty days I was feeling so good. One month turned to three, then to six. I let go of things I had been holding on to for years. Things that used to bother me just didn't any more. I stopped being angry. I began to enjoy my days and feel excited about the future. I found myself smiling again for no reason. My emotional set point rose and every day I felt lighter.
Now I'm talking more openly about my journey through anxiety, and it's a conversation people want to engage in. So, I want to start by listing the things that work for me. Please add your own in the comments. It's an important topic, and one with no clearly defined right or wrong answer.
What has helped me
Quitting the corporate world was not the answer to my anxiety, but it was the beginning of a journey. People don't become high performing professionals without constant personal growth. We continue to learn every day. It's part of the entrepreneur's journey. If I had to give advice I would say do something that falls into each of these four categories regularly. Don't wait until you find yourself isolated or on the floor of your shower. Enjoy your life now.
This summer I will be leading a 90 day group coaching program called 'Business Yoga' that will help business leaders decrease anxiety while increasing productivity and happiness. Read more▶
I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Please comment and share with someone you think might benefit.
For more on the statistics quoted in this article read the post Genius in Madness from StartupGrind.com.
Why BURNING THE BOAT worked for me
Two years after I quit corporate America to start my business I found myself driving an hour and half each way to a new job. I was getting out of bed at 4:30 AM in order to get my workout in before leaving for work by 6:30 AM. I was missing walking my little girl to the bus stop, and I was missing a million other precious things about self-employment. I knew my new position was not for me, but I had become desperate.
When I started my company in 2014 business came to me easily. I had leveraged my corporate contacts into work - mostly websites and search engine optimization. We did well during the first year.
Still, during my first years in business I kept in contact with the corporate and IT recruiters that would call on me every once in a while. Because of my skill set I got lots of calls about various jobs in the online marketing realm. Let me be clear - I did NOT want another job. But talking with recruiters was easy. It was fun to think about a large stable income and paid travel. And the conversations were more enjoyable than looking for new clients. I also kept up with the job boards like Indeed.com - telling myself I was just keeping abreast of what was going on in the market
By mid-2016 all the work that had come my way via my corporate contacts was completed. It was time for me to bring in some new projects. And that's when the trouble started. I am no sales person, and I had trouble balancing networking with maintaining a full load of projects.
Things got bad. I had to let my marketing assistant go. I didn't pay myself for a long time. I didn't send a significant invoice out for about 6 months. I kept doing the work that came my way, but I wasn't bringing in any new work. Also, I kept entertaining conversations with recruiters and looking at job boards.
I started working from the couch. I got depressed. I started working from the couch with my computer in the other room. It wasn't productive or fruitful.
I ended up interviewing for a great position with a company that I loved. The owner was a charming, brilliant woman and I wanted to be near her to learn everything she knew. But the job was an hour and a half away from my house with no chance for a telecommute. And neither the pay nor the benefits were competitive to my last job.
It was not a good fit, and I knew it going in. But I was desperate and saw this job as my way out.
So I took it. I started driving an hour and a half each way to work every day. I traded my entrepreneurial lifestyle for less than I was worth in a bid for security.
Within 2 weeks of getting up at 4:30AM and doing three hours in the car every day I was sick. Like coughing, sneezing, trying not to fall asleep at my desk sick. For a week straight. I couldn't go to my doctor because I had no time off and my doctor was an hour and a half away.
On top of being sick I was a nervous wreck. I knew this was the wrong situation - and I knew it was only a matter of time before everyone else figured it out.
As soon as I had the strength I sat down with my new boss and we quickly came to the agreement that this wasn't going to work. I immediately felt better.
I hated that I had wasted valuable time, but it was a lesson learned. Here is what I now know for sure : Burn the boat. And send the lifeboats floating.
Burning the boat is self explanatory - you have to get in the water and swim.
Now imagine trying to swim while dragging your lifeboat with a rope you are holding in one hand. You think you are keeping yourself safe by dragging your lifeboat along for the ride, but you are really wearing yourself out.
Each time I climbed into the lifeboat for a little break the current dragged me further from shore. I climbed in when I wanted to avoid issues. At that time in my life I had a major problem with anxiety and insecurity, and spending time talking to recruiters and thinking about taking a job allowed me to avoid doing things that scared me.
Burn the big boat. Let go of the lifeboat. Completely. Fully. Forever. Burn the boat.
For me that meant no more talking to recruiters. No more looking at job postings. I have taken my last job as an employee.
Entrepreneurship is scary. every. damned. day. And I wasn't ready to face that reality.
With no boat and no lifeboat, I was forced to work out my issues with anxiety and come closer to the entrepreneur I was meant to be.
For you your lifeboat may be your full time job. It may be the sense of security you get from driving Uber on the weekends. Or staying in a relationship provides security but nothing else. It could be a pattern of self talk that you tell yourself is keeping you 'realistic', but keeps you tethered to a low place. It could be Facebook - you may tell yourself it keeps you connected but in reality it sucks away time and leaves you feeling bad.
Think about your lifeboat. What is the thing that costs you time and energy without bringing you closer to your goals. How could you let it go? What would really happen if you stopped allowing it to suck your time?
Let it go for a week or a weekend. See what happens. Take stock of how you feel. Notice whether or not you feel lighter, freer, more ready to make your goals happen.
I have heard many an entrepreneur say 'Jump and the net will appear.' My net came in the form of restructuring the way I worked with my clients. Now instead of constantly looking for new projects I focus on the clients I already have. My relationships with clients are now true consulting relationships. I meet with them every few weeks and I advise them on what to do next. Some of the ideas we come up with are executed by my team, and some they are able to complete using internal resources. It's a rich and rewarding way to do business, and I wouldn't have come to it if I was still thinking about going back to corporate work.
Thanks for spending time with me. Share your comments and thoughts with me in the comments section below. More soon! - Kelly
How to turn your website into a lead generation machine.
Your website has less than 5 seconds to make an impression. If you aren't making the case for visitors to stay and see what you are all about, you can bet your ass they are leaving.
Here's an easy way to tell whether your visitors have a positive impression of you after visiting your site: Do they call you or fill out your contact form after they have been to your website? If not, it's because they aren't staying around long enough to get engaged with your message.
Here are the 2 things your website MUST do for your visitors in the first 5 seconds of a visit.
So clean it up and make it clear. Need help? You know I'm here for you. Schedule a free call with me and let's talk.
Thanks for spending time with me today. Don't forget to like and share this article with other small business owners. It will help them and make you look like a genius!
Spa Website for SkinPro Studio - Serving Cancer and Maternity Patients, and Educating Skincare Professionals
The site was developed in 3 weeks during March 2016.
The site needed to be:
We created a site that tells the story of SkinPro Studio, and makes it easy for customers to do business with the spa.
With a beautiful custom header image.
And we integrated their MindBody scheduling software into the website in a way that looks seamless to customers. Customers can schedule appointments for themselves at the website. The appointments are saved into the spa's scheduling system, and the customer never leaves the SkinPro Studio website.
And here is what Liz Munn, owner of SkinPro Studio, had to say about working with us:
"Kelly developed my website for my new skincare business. I would highly recommend Kelly for any type of website design. She listened to what was important and provided exactly what I wanted. I find Kelly to be knowledgeable, timely, efficient, and effective in her approach. She is a pleasure to work."
Do you love the way this site turned out? Please like and share this post! Your likes and share help spread the word to other marketers and business owners just like you. And if they like it too, you will look smart and savvy for having helped them find it.
Would you like to talk about your site? Schedule a free website consultation today so we can get started.
It's a fact - new content on your website is good for lead generation. Studies show that the more often a company blogs, the more leads it gets through the website. And according to HubSpot, the smaller the company the larger the benefit in terms of website traffic and leads generated.
So how often is often enough? And is there such a thing as too often?
The answer, in part, can be found in your audience. Business-to-consumer companies benefit more from blogging more often.
Increases from blogging 11+ times a month:
• B2B - 3 times more leads than similar companies posting 4-5 times a month
• B2C - 4.5 times more leads than companies who only post 4-5 times a month
I wasn't able to find a number that could be considered TOO often, although I would suspect you have hit that number once quality begins to suffer. Quality content is King - junk content is always junk.
Can't blog 11 times a month? Do what you can. There are cumulative benefits to posting in your blog. Your posts live forever - they remain on your site where they help to increase your search rank and make your site more find-able by your customers.
For more information check out these quality articles on the same topic:
- HubSpot: How Often Should Companies Blog?
- Scripted: How often should you update your blog?
Need more? Schedule a free website evaluation with me. I would love to talk with you about your website, SEO, and online marketing strategy. And please like and share if you learned something - It helps the people you like get the useful information they need, and you will look like a rock star in the process!
Call me crazy, but I believe there are only 3 reasons for marketing your company: to grow, to reduce costs by creating volume, or in preparation to sell the company. In other words, you are not Coke-a-Cola. You are not creating ‘brand awareness.’ 99% of leaders reading this are looking to gain more sales, donations, or participation.
Each week in this 6 part series we will examine a step in creating Marketing Action Plans that drive business. The first step is goal setting. Know where you are going and don’t ever forget it.
Here’s the thing about modern marketing – everything IS measurable. That’s good news for companies AND marketing departments. When we focus on marketing in ways that are tied to results then the marketing department becomes a revenue center. Even print ad results can be measured when they generate a response via phone or online.
That doesn’t mean that every marketing action can be tied directly to resulting goal behaviors. Certainly there are times when the sale, donation, or participation is the result of a multi-step nurturing process. That’s why its important to define an engagement funnel – it will outline the path from stranger to customer for each priority audience. We’ll talk more about that later in the series.
The over-arching goal for all ads/campaigns, however, will be a measurable increase in sales, donations, or participation. In other words, the goal for a specific ad may be brand awareness, but your goal for the campaign is the measurable increase.
You want the viewer to take notice of your message and DO SOMETHING. And you want that something to move the needle on sales, donations, or participation numbers.
Your Marketing Action Plan goal should state 3 things:
The first step in creating your Marketing Action Plan: Spend some time thinking about your revenue, resources, and plans. Consider ways your company currently generates revenue, and evaluate your plans the future. Also consider your current resources and strengths. Bring your company’s leadership or trusted advisers in, and take their input.
Then, create a document titled “Marketing Action Plan.” Write a short (less than 3 sentences) goal on the first page of your document. Save it somewhere so it will be easy to find. We will continue soon…
Complete this first step as soon as you can. My next article will talk about priority audiences. Knowing your audience helps you understand where to market, what to say, and what to expect.
My next post will talk about your audience. Look for it next week. Until then, please "like" this article using the social links on this page.
Your Chief Marketing Officer has a big job. She works with senior leadership to understand the company's goals, then develops strategies and associated initiatives to move the needle on those goals. On top of that, she leads execution on those strategies and initiatives, and reports on results. Finally, she analyzes the results to optimize successes and plan future initiatives.
And there's more. Today's marketing leaders must have a solid understanding online marketing in addition to traditional marketing techniques. Search optimization, website usability, social media, audience targeting, and email are some of the new proficiencies a CMO has to have. Without a solid grasp of these, opportunities will be missed.
But not all companies have a CMO at their disposal. In the absence of senior marketing leadership, companies may employ a marketing person or team consisting of mid-level professionals focused on executing tasks that come from the CEO or other leadership. Others outsource everything to a firm or firms.
There is real value in having a senior marketing professional sitting between leadership and execution. Only an experience leader can properly ensure alignment between goals, direction, and initiatives. Further, in the same way that marketing and brand touch all parts of a business, marketing leadership should give input on products, plans, and initiatives company-wide.
Whether you plan to use an outsourced CMO for a short period, or long-term, here are some situations in which it's an appropriate solution to consider.
In my opinion, a good outsourced CMO will be focused on finding the highest impact strategies for reaching your ideal customer. This shouldn't include branding or rebranding right away. It SHOULD include strategies for messaging to more customer who resemble or have a personal relationship with your current customers.
CMO outsourcing is a new service my company, Kelly Coulter and Associates, provides to a select few companies. Depending on your needs the cost can be as low as $4500 a month. That's a hell of a savings vs. the $15K or more a full-time, in-house CMO can cost.
And there are others out there. Lots of consultants and firms are offering this service. Google it - you'll see. Whoever you use remember to check references and ask every question you can think of. Get your candidate to meet with everyone he/she will be working with, and make an informed decision.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the article, please click "like" on the Facebook or Twitter link below. And if you learned something new, share it with your friends and network! Your likes and shares help me spread information and ideas to more professionals just like you!
I'm Kelly Coulter. I help businesses grow their revenue and their happiness.