If you’re wondering how to best market and create content in the current climate, here are seven ways to serve as a leader right now for your customers.

7 Ways to Serve as a Leader Right Now

If your week has been anything like mine, it’s been a mixed bag. I think I have whiplash after being bounced and tossed around the emotional spectrum like a pinball.

I got a lot of great responses when I asked what topics you would like my insights on right now. I was happy to see that a lot of people wanted to hear about some ways to show up and serve as a leader right now.

I’m also working on content about how to make your business more resilient and how to quickly replace lost income. (Hint: #3 and #4 below are a great way to prepare for that.) More on those topics soon.

If you’re wondering how to best market and create content in the current climate, check out the resource I share in #4 below.

With that, here are seven ways to show up as a leader right now for your customers, clients, and audience.

1) Keep Showing Up (Show Up More)

It would be understandable to hole up right now and attend to yourself, your family, and those closest to you. And if that is what you need, that’s just fine.

And also, know that right now everyone is also looking for guidance, connection, hope, and familiarity. You can offer that to your clients, customers, and the audience. Keep sending out emails. Consider sending even more content. It can be more informal. Share a steady stream of ideas and recommendations to help them navigate this difficult time. Not only is it good leadership and karma, but it will also pay off for your business in the long run.

2) Provide Opportunities for Connection and Community

Many are stuck at home for the foreseeable future. There’s a huge need for connection. Think of ways you can offer that to your audience. One idea: organize remote co-working sessions on Zoom.

Hold short free (or paid) training calls. People are looking for useful ways to fill their time. Yesterday, I helped a friend set up an online movement class (something that would normally be held in a dance studio). Over 100 people eagerly signed up with more now asking to buy the recording. They were hungry to connect, move, learn, and feel some degree of normalcy.

Think of ways to do that for your crowd.

3) Check-in With the Needs of Your Market

Everyone’s needs shifted significantly overnight and continue to shift on a daily basis. Find out what your audience and market need most now. Get on the phone with clients, past clients, email subscribers, and others in your industry. Then, adjust your content and offerings accordingly.

I cannot overstate how important this is to do. If you are looking to replace lost income…if you are wondering how to pivot your business…if you just want to know how you can serve best…this is how you do that. You just might discover a new ongoing profit center for your business.

4) Create an Immensely Valuable Free Offer that Relates to Current Events

This relates to my previous point. Once you identify a pressing need, create a valuable resource to help with that need. This could be a guide, tutorial, resource list, or other similar assets.

An excellent example of this is a guide Northstar Messaging sent out this week to all of their current and past clients giving guidelines about how to create content when we’re in the middle of a crisis. I recommend checking it out here.

Not only is this a way to be of service, but it’s also a great reason to get in touch with past clients and other colleagues to check in with them. It can also lead to some new business for you. Also, it sets you up nicely to launch a new program related to the topic of your free resource.

5) Be a Curator of Resources

Information, special offers, and recommendations abound right now. It’s nice to see so many people helping others out. At the same time, a lot of people are overwhelmed. You can serve as a filter, curating the most important stuff for your audience in your area of expertise. An example of this is the email I sent out last week with A List of Things That Might Help Right Now.

6) Be Honest, Authentic, and Transparent

Acknowledge what’s going on. You can even share how it’s affecting you. This helps to normalize the situation. Doing “business as usual” and trying to show up as the infallible leader will come across as aloof.

7) Take Care of Yourself. Give Yourself Space.

Hopefully, this goes without saying. Show up and serve, but don’t overwork yourself. Don’t give away the farm. Take care of your health. Tend to your family. Tend to your business. We all deal with crises differently. Nothing I shared in this newsletter needs to be taken as a “should.” You know your circumstances best. Your intuition knows what’s best for you.

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

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.