A List of Free Things That Might Help Right Now

A List of Free Things That Might Help Right Now

I hope you’re staying healthy and safe.

Over the past week, I’ve curated a collection of resources (most of them free) that could help during this challenging time. I’d like to share them with you today. I’ve put a $ next to the two that cost a bit of money (no affiliate links).

Also, next week I’ll send out some training that I normally charge but that I’ve now made free. It will help you identify exactly what you should do next in your business to serve your customers and bring in income. Watch for it.

Now, here’s my List of Things That Might Help Right Now.

FocusMate – Find Virtual Working Partners for Accountability and Connection [APP]

Focusmate, started by my friend Taylor, has been making it easy for people to connect with others to co-work virtually for years now. His platform was already useful, even more so now.

How to Maintain Healthy Relationships While Stuck at Home with Loved Ones [WEBINAR]

Being stuck together with your closest relationships can lead to challenges, even when you love each other dearly. My friends, Alexandra Jamieson and Bob Gower, are offering a free webinar to help keep couples and families happy and in alignment.

7 Essentials for Taking Your Team Virtual [PDF GUIDE]

This guide by BusinessImprov offers some important insights if you find yourself needing to work with your team virtually if you’ve been used to working in-person until now.

Inspiring Talks and Performances [LIVE ONLINE EVENT]

Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick have pivoted their epic Speakers Who Dare event into a live broadcast on March 24. I love attending events they put on because the speakers are always inspiring. I walk away with valuable insights. Now you don’t need a $200+ ticket. You can attend for just $22.

Pivoting Around a Pandemic [PODCAST]

Jenny Blake’s podcast is all about pivoting in business and life. She published a series of episode specifically related to navigating challenge related to the pandemic.

Maintaining Business Continuity While Caring for Self and Others

11 Ways to Maintain Momentum for Solopreneurs

Promoting and Launching During the Pandemic [VIDEO]

This excellent Facebook Live, so generously offered by my friend, Mariah Coz, is packed with insights and answers to pressing questions for course creators looking for direction right now.

Mark Cuban Offers Advice and Answers to Small Businesses About How to Survive the Pandemic [POST]

Mark hopped on LinkedIN to do an “ask me anything” session to answer as many questions as he could. It’s worth perusing.

Expert Help During Coronavirus [FREE WEBINARS]

B.J. Fogg and his Tiny Habits crew are conducting a series of free webinars on a variety of topics such as 3 Tiny Habits for Strengthening Your Immune System, How to Foster Calm During Uncertainty, and others.

Teach Kids Resilience and Growth Mindset – $

For a bit of homeschool inspiration, and to help your kids muster their resilience while things are hard, Big Life Journal has some amazing activities and resources, many of them printable.

More soon.

Stay healthy! Stay safe!

I’d like to offer a few insights about how you can weather these uncertain times in your business and fortify your business for the future.

5 Ways to Navigate These Uncertain Times

It’s been a crazy week. It feels like head-spinning news and changes are coming at us at the speed of light bringing with it a good deal of uncertainty, and therefore, anxiety.

To be honest, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve felt like throwing my hands in the air and screaming.

What’s the use right now of doing anything if the ground is going to shift underneath me every two minutes?!

Thankfully, after taking a few deep breaths (and occasionally throwing on my kickboxing gloves to throw a few punches), I calm myself down.

Today, I’d like to offer a few insights about how you can weather these uncertain times in your business and fortify your business for the future.

1) Use This Time to Diversify Your Business Model

The other day I was brought on a podcast to talk about the importance of having multiple ways to sell your knowledge and generate income. The audience consisted of a number of public speakers who were suddenly facing months with very little income due to canceled conferences.

If you’re in a situation where some of your income is evaporating, now would be a good time to use my Lean Launch Method to get something to market quickly, especially something virtual that can replace any in-person gigs that have been canceled.

You can’t rely on just one source of income or customer leads. If you do, you’ll get hit hard when the dogs and cats start living together.

2) Look for the Opportunities

It’s easy at a time like this to feel like the risks are piling on, but there’s also opportunity in uncertainty.

NOTE: I’m not talking about price-gouging opportunities (there was a bottle of Purell going for $79 at a small convenience store here in NYC).

If all your travel is canceled and your speaking gigs are disappearing like a bag of Sour Patch Kids in my cupboard, then use the extra time to write a book or go on a podcast tour. Make investments in the future.

Find ways you can serve the shifting needs of the marketplace. Which leads me to my next tip.

3) Invest in Customer Discovery

Set up conversations with people in your audience and marketplace to check in with their needs. Use that information to inform your decisions for the future when it comes to your content, marketing, and product offers. Empathy is a competitive advantage.

4) Show Up As a Servant Leader and Be Generous

Find a way to show up as a servant leader and be generous with our resources and support. I’m thinking of what companies like Loom and Techsmith are doing right now by offering free and discounted versions of tools to meet the rising numbers of remote workers.

It’s easy to go into survival mode, but service helps keep our focus outward as well and cultivates the feeling that we are all in this together. That, and it will be good for business in the long run. Win-win!

5) Consider Pausing Promotional Campaigns

This one might sound scary when you’re already worried about how your revenue might take a hit. But consider the optics of your ads showing up amid all the social media posts about everyone’s worries about politics, the economy, and public health.

You don’t have to stop sales and marketing altogether, but consider focusing on more personal outreach and promotion methods rather than running your social ad campaigns as usual.

Here are four useful tools and techniques that can help you uncover your unique voice as a thought leader to stand out in your industry.

How to Uncover Your Unique Voice as a Thought Leader

In 1994, my brother and I started our first garageband. Spillway was our name (don’t ask me why).

We would set up in my parents’ basement and thrash about, banging the drums and crunching chords on the guitar, essentially knocking off of the popular grunge sound of the time.

Our first song was an “approximation” of a Stone Temple Pilots tune. Our next was a loose rip off of Rage Against the Machine.

Without a doubt, we sounded like hundreds of other garagebands playing in their parents’ basements, all of us borrowing liberally from the popular rock bands on the radio. But we had to start somewhere. This is the creative process of discovering one’s creative voice.

Much like writing songs, creating content and sharing your ideas online is an expression of your unique voice.

To find your own style, your own voice, you often start by mimicking the voice of others. You experiment. You put in your reps. Bit by bit you uncover the elements that make up the fullest expression of who you are, the things that set you apart from others who do or say similar things.

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.” — Michelle Obama

Your unique voice is one of your most valuable tools when it comes to creating a strong position in the marketplace so that you stand out in the noise.

Your voice is found in the stories you tell, values you stand for, opinions you share… it’s an authentic expression of who you are and how you think.

I write only because / There is a voice within me / That will not be still. – Sylvia Plath

While it may seem like uncovering your voice should be self-evident, there are a number of forces that continuously conspire to bury it from even our own awareness.

Thankfully, there exist a number of useful tools and techniques that can help you uncover your unique voice so that you can create a strong brand position that stands out in your industry. Here are four worth trying.

1) Louder Than Words by Todd Henry

This is one of the best tools I’ve found for uncovering your unique voice. In this book, Todd shares a series of questions for uncovering your “notables.” These are points of view that, by sharing them, you uncover parts of your voice.

Below is a list of sample questions I’ve borrowed and adapted from Louder Than Words that you can use to uncover a new part of your voice.

  1. When are you moved emotionally?
  2. What stirs you to anger (especially compassionate anger)?
  3. What kinds of problems or ideas do you think about incessantly?
  4. What are you curious about right now?
  5. What is something you believe that runs counter to popular opinion or conventional wisdom?
  6. Choose a question, answer it, then create a piece of content that expresses your answer.

2) Read Your Content Out Loud

When you write an email, blog post, or even social media update, read it out loud before publishing. Does it sound like you? If not, edit it until it does. Ditch the rules school and business have drilled into you about writing. If you want your content to resonate, write like you speak.

3) The Magnetic Messaging Framework

I created this five-part framework (PDF) to help my clients connect with the core of what drives their work so they can communicate it to their audience. By going through the exercises in the guide, you’ll identify the things that will make your message irresistible to those you want to serve most. I also talk about this framework in episode one of my new podcast.

4) Share Anecdotes from Your Life

I started this email with a story of my first garageband. Sharing stories (or even short anecdotes) like this is an easy and powerful way to infuse your unique voice into your content.

Making your mark in the world requires honing your unique voice. It’s an ongoing process. The techniques above will help you identify and share the best and most interesting parts of who you are so that your ideas will resonate with your audience, earn their trust, and inspire them to take action.

I thought my launch would fail, but I know I had to keep going.

Doubt set in; I was certain my launch was going to fail…

My mind got the better of me and I started freaking out.

Earlier that day, I’d posted something to social media and heard crickets in return.

That was two weeks ago. I was promoting my mastermind group for coaches and consultants.

I’d already booked a couple of fantastic people into the program, but I wanted ten participants.

The scared “monkey brain” part of my mind was certain that the “flopped” social media post was proof I wasn’t going to find anyone else to sign up.

The monkey brain didn’t care that I’d done 70+ launches in the past, most of which went well.

It didn’t care that time and time again I’d filled programs despite experiencing “launch slumps” along the way.

The monkey brain was working hard to protect me by convincing me to cut my losses and move on before I failed.

Thankfully, I didn’t listen.

I kept going.

I posted to social media again later that week and enrolled a third person.

He referred me to someone else who enrolled. Now I had four.

I kept going.

I sent a few more emails to my list.

A client from several years back happened to catch one of those emails, hopped on the phone with me, and enrolled. Now I had five.

I kept going.

I ran a webinar. Truth be told, nobody signed up from the webinar. But people loved the content and I added 100 new people to my list.

I kept going.

I sent personal invitations to past clients. Two more enrolled.

Now I had seven people.

One of the people I reached out to politely declined the invitation, but then proceeded to refer two more people who enrolled. Now I had nine.

I kept going.

Fast forward to today, a tenth person enrolled and I filled my mastermind.

Launches often feel tenuous. They aren’t all home runs despite what it looks like from the outside. They require perseverance, ego strength, faith, experimentation, and consistency. The old evolutionary part of your brain will sometimes fight against you tooth and nail.

That’s when being mindful, turning to your support system, using your coping mechanisms (I like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques), and perhaps a cocktail at the end of the day (I personally love a Moscow Mule) can really help.

You have to keep going.

You might be one strategy away from reaching your goal. Just assume that half the things you try won’t work out as well as you thought. When something doesn’t work, try something else.

Even the strategies that your mastermind friends, business coach, or a trusted colleague swear will get you results…sometimes those just won’t work for you for whatever reason.

Just account for that. Try more things. Some won’t work and some of them will.

And most of all… Just. Keep. Going.

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.