The unspoken danger of business masterminds

The unspoken danger of business masterminds

Today, I need to share something that really bothers me about masterminds. In fact, this applies to give business advice in any situation.

It’s something I see frustrate a lot of business owners. It can even lead them down a path that is damaging to their business if they don’t know how to recognize this problem.

But once you know how to keep an eye out, you can avoid this pitfall and still get all the amazing benefits that mastermind groups offer.

(SIDENOTE: I have a few spots left in my mastermind for coaches, consultants, and other experts. Click here to get the details and apply.)

Once, I was sitting in a mastermind meeting where one of our group (I’ll call her Erin) was in the hot seat asking for ideas to generate more leads for her business.

Immediately, someone jumped in to share with Erin how they were doing really well with paid ads and sending leads to a webinar.

As soon as there was a gap in the conversation, another member of the group started talking about how much his podcast had been growing his email list.

It continued like this for the next fifteen minutes. Bit by bit, I could see Erin’s eyes glaze over. I knew this look. She was totally overwhelmed. But because she didn’t want to seem ungrateful, she wasn’t saying anything.

I see this happen a lot in masterminds. The problem is two-fold.

First, people want to appear accomplished and smart. This leads them to offer advice even when it might not be the best fit for the person they are helping.

Second, people genuinely want to be helpful, but they offer advice before asking questions to better understand the problem.

You can’t get the right help unless the person offering advice understands what the real problem is and had an adequate understanding of what you ultimately want to accomplish.

This requires people to ask you questions first.

In Erin’s case, she felt like she needed to generate more leads to grow her income. But had the group asked more questions, they would have realized that the best thing she could do to bring in more revenue was to change up how she was interacting with her list rather than trying to grow it faster.

By asking questions, they would have learned that she didn’t have the budget or bandwidth yet for paid ads and she had no interest in podcasting.

Masterminds are most effective when the group knows what questions to ask before giving advice.

Additionally, it’s important that the group members know when to NOT offer their advice, even if it’s something that worked well for them.

Sometimes advice is just noise.

The goal should always be to offer the advice and input that best fits the specific person and their business at that time.

Keep this in mind when giving advice in a mastermind.

Even more important, keep it in mind when asking for advice. Notice who asks questions first. You can also request that the group ask questions before jumping in with ideas.

A good mastermind facilitator will lay down grounds rules to make sure this happens. This is something I do with my masterminds.

I’m currently looking for one or two more of the right people to join my six-month mastermind for coaches, consultants, and other experts.

We’ll focus on growing your income by creating new digital products and other streams of income.

We’ll also focus on raising your visibility and authority as a thought leader and growing your audience.

You must already be making consistent income from your expertise to qualify. Click here to get the details and apply.

A wake-up call this week in the form of feedback given to me about my new podcast which launches later this month

They called me out and they were right

I had a wake-up call this week in the form of feedback given to me about my new podcast which launches later this month. There’s a valuable lesson in it for any content creator, so I’d like to share it with you.

Let me give you just a bit of setup first.

Here’s the deal. I’m feeling some pressure when it comes to this new show. I had a wildly successful podcast for twelve years, then I went on podcasting hiatus for a few years.

Now, I have high expectations of myself to start strong with this new show as I step back on to the podcasting stage.

There’s nothing wrong with stretching one’s self to reach higher. But it seems maybe I took it a little too far.

I researched.

I backed my ideas up with stats.

I created a framework to make the content actionable.

I kept it all within a nice concise 19 minutes.

I scripted the content (something I’ve never done with a podcast before).

I spent hours writing and re-writing the episode to get it “just right.”

It was those last two that did me in.

Here’s the feedback I received this week from two separate people after they listened to an advance version of episode one.

“I’d like to hear more about your business, your why’s, and your personality before you give the framework. Otherwise, it feels like a course via podcast. That makes me want to be more selective in listening to episodes only when the topic is relevant vs. listening to every episode.”

“Infuse more of your personality. At times, it felt like an MBA lecture.”

I immediately knew they were right. I’d made the common mistake of trying so hard to be credible and valuable that I had squeezed one of the most important elements out of it.

Me!

I didn’t leave any room for my own personality and story. I even teach my clients this stuff and I still missed the mark on this one.

Here’s the takeaway.

Yes, it’s important to have solid content that is valuable and credible, but what really keeps people coming back to listen is who you are and how you uniquely show up.

This applies to creating content for your marketing as well for your course.

I’ve seen worries about getting it “just right” delay course launches many, many times. I’ve also seen it turn courses and programs into dry lectures that fail to make a connection and have the desired impact despite being chock full of value.

It’s understandable to feel a lot of pressure to create ideas that people find novel, useful, and authoritative. We should always strive to master our craft and create quality work.

But don’t let the pressure, perfectionism, and impostor syndrome choke the life out of your perspective and voice.

Do you ever suffer from this entrepreneurial malady?

Do you ever suffer from this entrepreneurial malady?

Putting yourself and your ideas out there for the masses can ironically be a lonely business at times.

You sit in your home office wrestling with decisions, wishing you had someone who could jump in the ring with you, even for a moment, so that you don’t have to bear the entire weight of those decisions alone.

You have the freedom of choosing your own path and yet you feel adrift in an ocean of possibilities with nobody to help you choose where to navigate next.

Even if you have a team, you can still feel alone as a leader with nobody to talk to who feels the same pressures, has the same kind of vision and understands the nature of your day-to-day journey.

To succeed, we all need fresh perspectives to shine a light on our blind spots.

We all need consistent feedback both to push us further as well as to remind us how far we have come.

We all need a safe place to share the real struggles of entrepreneurship and thought leadership with those who understand.

When we grow tired of our own ideas and strategies, we need a source of inspiration and trusted guidance to shake things up.

As an introvert, it’s easy for me to isolate myself as an entrepreneur without realizing that I’m doing it. I’ve learned over the years to recognize the signs of entrepreneurial isolation.

I’ve also learned to know who my people are — those I can turn to when I need help breaking out of my bubble, a bit of encouragement, or a solid kick in the pants.

As you head into 2020, it’s worth making a list of who those people are for you. This will serve as a tool when you need to reach out and a reminder to strengthen those relationships.

It’s also important to realize when you need more of those people and/or when it’s time to mix things up by finding new minds to associate with who can stretch you in new ways.

Does any of this resonate with you? Let me know!

11 Ways to Stand Out as a Unique Voice in Your Industry

11 Ways to Stand Out as a Unique Voice in Your Industry

I’ve got a question fo you.

On a scale of 1 to 10…

How are you doing at creating thought leadership content that stands out and establishes you as a unique voice in your industry?

As I rapidly approach the launch of my new podcast in January, I’ve been checking out the podcast and content landscape to see what’s out there and how I can bring something different to the table.

What I have noticed is that a lot of content creators show up at a 4 or 5, perhaps a 7 at best, when it comes to creating content with a unique approach and voice.

That’s why they get lost in the sea of sameness on the Internet.

But that’s not you!

You didn’t start your brand and business just to get lost in the noise.

It doesn’t matter if there are marketers and content creators who are smarter, more qualified, better at writing, funnier, or even better looking.

There are people in this world who want to listen to, learn from, and buy from YOU specifically…because of who you are and how you think. So, unabashedly show them who you are.

Do not hold back!

Out of 7.5 billion people on Earth, you only need a few thousand of them to resonate with you to have a big impact and a successful business.

To help you stand out and resonate with those who are waiting to hear from you, I’ve put together a list of eleven ways to turn your content up to eleven so it truly stands out.

11 Ways to Turn it Up to Eleven

Emit Passion & Energy

Only create content and sales offers about things that you have really strong feelings, motivations, and opinions about. Let that energy shine through.

Share Your Interests

Talk about your interests (e.g. tv shows, hobbies, philanthropic pursuits, etc.) in your content. Use these interests to create analogies that are relevant to your content or just drop the occasional reference to them. Find ways to use talents like drawing, playing guitar, knitting, or whatever in your content. Quote your favorite movies.

Use Humor

You don’t have to be a comedian (but if you are going for it). You can be punny. You can use self-deprecating humor. If you have a silly or goofy streak, let it shine! Try to make yourself laugh when you create content.

Bring Them Behind the Scenes

Share your process. Let them see the messy origins of your new ideas and projects. People love to be a fly on the wall. Or just share parts of your personal life that your audience will relate with and enjoy seeing.

Have Conviction

Share what you believe with certainty and courage (no matter the response it might get). Be clear about where you stand. But when appropriate, also show a willingness to learn and change but explain why you are doing so. Don’t change because it’s popular or convenient.

Be An Example

Exemplify the values that are most important to your audience. Show extreme dedication to those values (e.g. discipline, creativity, spontaneity, family, etc.).

Do Fascinating Stuff

Do things that people will find interesting. Then share your experiences in your content. Want to be interesting? Do interesting stuff regularly.

Speak Truth

This goes beyond integrity. This is also about saying what others are not willing to say, bringing new truth to light, or restoring truth that has been lost. The secret to Howard Stern’s success is not just controversy. His interviews focus on revealing what is real and true under the surface — stuff that doesn’t get shared elsewhere.

Be Adventurous

Take people on a journey with you. This might be travel like when I lived in Paris or when Chris Guillebeau set a goal to travel to every nation on earth. Or it could be a personal growth journey or the process of reaching for a big audacious goal.

Be Rebellious

Challenge conventional wisdom. Do things differently. Say something controversial (but mean it and embrace it).

Use Aesthetics

Adopt a distinct look or brand. Use the highest quality, beauty, and design in everything you do. Set a new bar.

Choose one of the methods in the list above (or another one that you come up with) that feels natural for you to use, and decide one simple way you can use that method in your content in the next 7 days.

And I’d love to hear from you…

1) Which one(s) are you going to put into action (or which ones do you already shine at doing)?

2) Who is a thought leader, writer, creator, etc. you think is excellent at turning it up to 11? Reply and let me know.

rule of marketing

The #1 Rule of Marketing

 

Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.” — Robert Collier

 

Earlier this week I was at dinner with friends where a variety of conversations were taking place at the table. My attention was suddenly pulled to a conversation about yoga.

Now, the truth is that yoga as a topic would not normally grab my attention. I think yoga’s great, but it’s not really a top-of-mind interest for me. Normally, my mind would have filtered this conversation out and my focus would have remained on the interaction I was already a part of.

However, this yoga conversation was different. My friend was recounting a recent experience where she ran a workshop for veterans to help them process trauma stored in their bodies through restorative yoga. She explained how one participant had a big emotional release at the end of the workshop as her body let go of anxiety and tension that had long been stored in her muscles.

That got my attention.

I immediately switched my focus to her story. Ever since I read The Body Keeps the Score last year, processing trauma through movement has been at the top of my mind as something that could help me and others close to me to improve mental health.

In other words, this particular story “entered the conversation already taking place” in my mind. This is one of the most important things you can do when creating content and messaging for your marketing and sales. You have to meet your intended customers where they are.

What are the top-of-mind pains and problems they think about regularly? What keeps them awake at night? What are they actively interested in and looking for? What language do they use when talking about these things? Why are these things important to them?

It’s imperative to know the answers to questions like these so that you can tie your message and value proposition to them.

Only then will you get through the “spam filter” in their mind and gain their attention.

Be sure to speak to pains, problems, unfulfilled desires, and unmet needs before you start talking about your solution.

Just talking about yoga will get lost in the noise. Talking about yoga as a way to improve flexibility and prevent injury is a top-of-mind topic that will stand out and grab the attention of a specific audience. Talking about yoga as a way to mitigate the effects of sitting at a desk all day working at a computer will stand out and grab the attention of another specific audience.

When creating content for the purpose of expanding your visibility, gaining the attention of your market, and generating leads, the #1 rule is to always enter the conversation already going on in your customer’s mind so that your voice doesn’t get lost in the myriad of conversation taking place at the Internet table.