LISTED PRODUCTS WITH LINKS:
*Email Marketing Software: ConvertKit
*Landing Page / Funnel Software: Leadpages
*Grammar / Spelling Checker: Grammarly
*Social Proof Plug-In: Proof
*Payment Processor: SamCart
*Facebook Group Growth: Engage with Purpose
*iPhone Filming: iKross Tripod for iPhones
Webinar Hosting: Zoom
*Online Scheduler: Acuity
Funnel Timer Software: Deadline Funnel
Headphones: Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds
Video: Canon Camera Package
*Screen Recording: Telestream
Marketing Automation Software: Zapier
Task Organization Tool: Asana
Graphic Design Tool: Canva
High-Quality Free Stock Photos: Unsplash
Website Platform: Squarespace
But with nonstop travel, distractions and unpredictable wifi, the one thing that always keeps me connected to my work is reading. More than Facebook groups, online courses, YouTube or newsletters, good old fashioned books are what allow me to challenge my beliefs, expand my understanding of the online marketing space, birth new ideas for my business and provide more valuable content for you.
You can often get more insight from a $10 book than a $1K online course, so why millennials avoid them like the plague is beyond me.
Here are three super short (but crazy valuable) books that you should pick up and read this weekend. Enjoy!
This is one of Seth Godin's older books, but it's just as relevant and powerful as ever. If you're looking to stop being just another service provider and instead become a remarkable powerhouse in your industry, pick up this tiny book of wisdom. You won't regret it.
This book is a brilliant blend of marketing strategy and sales tactics. Perfect for both the beginner and the experienced entrepreneur, The Conversion Code will walk you through step-by-step how to bring more people into your tribe on autopilot and seamlessly close them as clients.
Another Seth Godin work of art. Tribes is perfect for those looking to build loyal, enthusiastic advocates for their brand and become lifelong leaders in their space. If you're on the influencer train, this book is a must-have.
Do you ever find yourself throwing your arms up in their and asking everyone in your proximity, “What is WRONG with people?!”
I know I do. And if you’re a fellow breathing human being, I’m guessing you’ve also been confronted with the reality of people’s shittiness.
In fact, just this morning, I spent thirty minutes of my precious time talking to my least favorite type of person: the freebie hoarder.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you know who I’m talking about: that guy who relentlessly seeks free insights, content and advice from you without ever having the intention of paying for your products and services. And while most of the time I’m a pro at avoiding these people, today, one of them trapped me into a 30 minute conversation about her struggling coaching business.
In this moment, it would have been easy for me to throw my arms up in the air, punch a nearby wall, scream “What is WRONG with people?!” and allow it to ruin my day. But in this moment, I took a deep breath, and had a huge realization:
I cannot change the way that this person acts. But what I can do is choose to see them through a different lens and naturally reap the rewards.
Of course, this woman isn’t someone who drastically impacts my day-to-day. But more often than not, millennials are faced with with complex, negative, inflexible perceptions of those close to us that are drastically impacting our businesses and lives (without even realizing it!).
For example, maybe your business partner is a grade A flake who only follows through on half of his responsibilities. In result, you’re resentful and feel completely overworked.
Maybe your client is a total nagger who demands far more from you than you ever agreed to. So in result, you spread yourself too thin and miss opportunities to work with clients who will actually appreciate you.
Maybe your mom is harassing you about going to grad school when all you really want to do is focus on your business. In result, you feel guilty about your work and hide it from the world.
Maybe your own ego is telling you that you aren’t good enough to sign high-paying clients, and in result, you remain penniless.
Here’s what it comes down to: When we’re subconsciously stuck in these negative perceptions of others, we are setting ourselves up to under perform. We fail to be the best partners, business owners, friends, and children we can be. And worst of all, we’re hindering ourselves from building relationships with those who matter most.
If you’re struggling in your relationships and perceptions of others, here are some things that you cannot do:
- Build relationships with top editors who will open the gates to getting published
- Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs for mutually beneficial partnerships
- Attract the right people into your tribe who will fawn over your work
- Sign 5-figure clients every month without effort
- Get invited to speaking engagements and live events
Why? Because when you’re glued to the idea that people are rude, selfish, close-minded, cheap, etc, you positioning them (and yourself) to fail.
It’s time that we start viewing our relationships as the foundation of our businesses. Hitting consistent $20K months or having 100,000 followers is not about any single marketing strategy, growth hack, or ad platform. It’s about accepting and understanding that everyone can get better, any relationship can be mended, and any new relationship can be formed if you simply gave it the chance to do so.
If you’re struggling with fixing and building relationships that will help you grow, here are three steps to start with:
1. Identify three people who you’re struggling with (one of these people could be yourself)
2. Write out the reasons that the relationship isn’t working
3. Make notes of:
Which of these are facts, and which are opinions? (You’ll find that 99% are opinions)
Which of these opinions are worth reconsidering? Choose 2.
How are these opinions making the situation more challenging, thus hurting my business?
Which opinions, if changed, would positively affect things and make my business grow?
If you’re struggling with mending and building relationships that matter, this isn’t something that can be pushed off. This is the foundation of your business and needs to be addressed now. What are you going to do about it?
Whenever I sit down to write, I struggle with the same question: Is this an opportunity to write from the perspective of the online marketing me? Or should I talk about the "regular" me? What does my audience need to hear right now? What can I share that will help them?
Nine times out of ten, I opt for the former. My community needs both inspirational and practical advice to build their businesses, I tell myself. They don't need to know about what's going on beneath that.
I think that part of it has always been a subconscious understanding that writing about my personal life's trials and tribulations is dangerous. Admitting that I don't have the answers to everything could lesson my community's respect for me, or make them question if I'm someone worth following. "If this girl is screwing up, why should I believe in her as a thought leader?"
Essentially, somewhere along the line, I decided that hiding the fact that I'm a real human would make me more interesting to my audience. And that's fucked up.
So I'm just going to say it. I'm having a really hard time with something. And that something is control.
When I was in college, I struggled with a severe eating disorder that led to multiple health complications. It consumed every minute of every day for several years, and that obsession naturally spilled over into other aspects of my life.
During this difficult time, I went on a vacation with my parents and brother. And instead of enjoying Hawaii and the limited time I had with my family, I made the entire trip's focus on food. Not just the food that I was expected to eat, but on my younger brother's eating habits as well.
I was awful to him. Every time he would order something like pizza in a restaurant, I would scold him about how he should have ordered a salad. When he asked my mom if we could go out for ice cream, I'd shame him for making such poor choices. Every time he even brought up food, I found a way to bully him out of it.
Keep in mind that he was only 11 at the time.
Many people would ask, "If it was your eating disorder and your issue with your own body, why would you put that on someone else?"
Because when I'm obsessed with something, I truly believe that everyone should be. It's not out of spite or anger. It's from a place of being fully consumed by something much bigger than myself and my inherent fear of it.
Over the past few years, I have put my whole heart into building my business. From the first minute, I dove deep into every book, course, program, and online resource I could find on digital entrepreneurship. This evolving world consumed me too, but in a much more positive and healthy way.
But with the excitement that comes from creating something from scratch and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, I began (and continue) to worry. I worry that what I'm doing isn't enough. That I'll say something my followers won't like. That I'll lose their trust. That I'm ten times behind some other entrepreneur. That things will begin to grow too fast and I'll lose control. That things will slow down and soon thistle out.
And this is when the need for control kicks in. Tagging along closely behind are always judgment, impatience, and close mindedness.
Suddenly, nothing matters other than having this control over work. And if anyone's actions or goals don't align with that, I begin to judge or question them.
Last week, my boyfriend told me that he was thinking of getting his PhD and becoming a professor. Instead of supporting him with his idea and encouraging him to pursue it, I snapped and said "That doesn't really align with our goal of being digital nomads, does it?"
What I forgot in that moment was that being an online entrepreneur is my goal. It isn't his. He is his own person with his own dreams and plans. But out of my own insecurities and stresses about my future, I put that negativity on him.
Similarly, when someone from the Go-Getter community tells me that they're still trying to overcome self-doubt and fear in starting their business when they told me the same exact thing eight months ago, I lose it. How come they aren't pushing themselves harder? Why are they not more focused? How come they're still stuck? They have every resource available to them to make it happen. They must just not want it badly enough.
It's mean, aggressive, black and white, and totally uncalled for. It makes me feel like a bully.
Breaking through this internal block is something that I'm working on. And it needs to come from a place of trust, compartmentalization, and a focus on the now.
Ask yourself right now, what are things that you can control in your business?
- Your products and services
- Your content
- Your marketing strategy
- Your client work
- Your interactions with your community
What you can't control:
- How others react to those elements
- What others think of you
- Who wants to hire you
- Whether that Entrepreneur editor will email you back or not
- The exact amount of income you'll drive over the next year
And I find that when I'm focused on what I can control right now instead of worrying about things that have spun out of control in the past or things that might go wrong in the future, my head is clearer. And with a clearer head, I can make better decisions.
For a second, fuck your business. Fuck your goals. Fuck your plans. None of it will matter if you allow your brain to destroy you from the inside.
It's time to run an inventory on your mind. What parts need to be deleted and what parts need more attention? How can you clear through the cobwebs to finally discover the contempt, self-acceptance, and clarity you've been looking for?
Only then can you truly move forward.
Guest Post by Preetha Vijayan, Certified Results Coach
Have you ever felt that life is just passing you by without any gravitas? Have you ever felt that things are impossible? Do you sometimes feel drained of energy? That can all change…the power and ability to do so is all within YOU!
I have come to realise the magical benefits of positive thinking and it has been a very active effort on my part to shift my mindset to “higher level thinking” and consciousness. The results have been amazing!
1)You are ONE with life – have you ever had a day when everything seems to “flow?” Things happen exactly as you want it to – there is less traffic, less queues, you get your morning coffee on time, your meetings are productive – things just seem to go your way. Is this a coincidence? I choose to attribute this to your mindset and the positive energy that you emanate – which means you have become attuned with the universe. Having busy lifestyles, we tend to forget that we ourselves are the greatest miracle of life, and that we are all part of this beautiful universe. Keep reminding yourself that you can achieve anything you set your mind to – you just need to have an open mind and heart. Your life will always go the direction you want it to go… it all starts with you! Be willing to receive and the universe will give it to you… try it, you will be surprised. Life’s gifts and miracles are waiting to be presented to you!
2)Conserve your energy for the things that truly matter – being positive gives you a natural “high” and inspires you to be happy, grateful and optimistic and live a meaningful life. It gives you a very pleasant aura which enables you to invest your energy in useful events – things that really matters to you. This becomes a very invigorating practice – and you feed off your energy to build more positivity and harness this to do more amazing and inspiring things. It goes on and on!
3)You attract like minded people – do you find that you gravitate towards people who are more like you? These people have similar interests to you, and their values and ways of thinking also correspond to your mental wavelength. I call them the “positive posse.” If I examine my own circle of friends and my family, it is remarkable how alike we all are – I am surrounded by confident, strong, inspiring, grateful, energising, positive people and they continue to have a strong influence on my life. They encourage me to become a better person, keep me grounded and are always there for me during challenging times. The golden saying is true – “like attracts like!”
4)You are content with yourself – you will find that you are absolutely content with yourself. Your authentic self. You find that there is no need for any external validation and you do not depend on sources (outside yourself) to make you happy – be it friends, family, boyfriend/girlfriend, material things. You have learnt to radiate “inside out” confidence and happiness – it all comes from within you. So think about the liberation that can come from this way of thinking and being – anywhere, anytime, anyplace – YOU have the ability to control your emotions and mindset. This is the most healthy, pure and optimal way to function.
So next time you find yourself feeling down or stuck in a rut, remember that you can change this in just a second. That is the power and beauty of positive thinking. All you need is the WILLINGNESS to do so. It is an ACTIVE CHOICE. As Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right!”
This week, my lovely Community Manager, Renana, will be going on maternity leave. And while she's taking time off with the newest addition of her family, I'll be hiring an interim freelancer.
There were a lot of people who I could have hired. The Go-Getter community is packed with virtual assistants with various specialities, many of whom have been self-employed for years.
But instead, I'm choosing to hire my 16-year-old brother, Miles.
Onboarding Miles will take countless hours of training and his work will have to revolve around his baseball schedule. But I know that this is the best possible decision I could have made.
Last week, my mom called me and said that Miles was planning to apply for summer jobs at local fast food restaurants and coffee shops. Since he's soon getting his driver's license, he'll need money for gas and some other relevant expenses.
And as she was telling me this, I began to think about my own experience in my first high school job. I was paid $7 an hour to work in a daycare center on Saturday mornings (diapers and crying galore!) and it was miserable. It taught me that making money = doing things you hate at inconvenient times for the rest of your life.
And for most people, this idea sticks with them. Thus begins the unbreakable cycle of minimum wage job hopping, money resentment, and overwhelming diffidence.
Although this mindset is challenging to shift for adults (this is why so many adults are baffled by the idea of starting their own business and leaving their safe 9 to 5 job), it's easy to mold the minds of teens. This is a prime opportunity to teach them that money can come from a place of excitement, creativity, self-agency, generosity, and fun.
And I want Miles to know that this mindset can benefit him for the rest of his life.
I want him to understand that he is talented and capable of charging for his services.
I want him to know that today, in 2017, his age has nothing to do with his success. I cannot tell you how many countless teenagers I know in the entrepreneurial community who have their own startups, have been featured in top-tier publications, and are bringing in 6-figure incomes online all from the convenience of their family living rooms.
I want Miles to know that having his own business isn't some far-off dream that only exceptional high schoolers can achieve.
I want him to know that this is something that he can achieve in the next month. Because if he learns these essential skills from me, there is no reason that he can't go off and then offer them to someone else.
Our responsibility as millennial entrepreneurs is more than giving ourselves the opportunity to achieve something remarkable. It's also to ensure that the following generation, Generation Z, understands that their opportunity is even greater.
When I was seventeen, I was expected to write a series of essays for my college applications. All of the questions that I had to respond to were more or less the same: Talk about your most profound life accomplishment, or reflect on your greatest challenge and how you overcame it. Or, if the university was feeling really creative, they would throw something at you like: Imagine that you were stranded on a deserted island with 100 other people, and you were responsible for providing them all with food, water, and shelter. Based on your life experiences, how would you take action?
Ridiculous, I know.
How is an emotionally unstable, acne-ridden high school kid supposed to answer any of those? What "accomplishments" are they even referring to?
And even though most high school seniors have no real experience, insight or wisdom that would properly equip them for these essays, we still sit down and write them. We learn the art of embellishment. We grasp the concept of “fake it till you make it” and write about how earth-shattering our existence is for 2,000 words.
Why? Because this is what we had to do to get accepted. It is a small yet crucial step that will (supposedly) grant us access into the school of our dreams and see a lifetime of success.
And when new entrepreneurs are looking to sign their first clients, they often come to me with the same question: How do I prove myself to be an expert to these prospects if I lack any real experience? If I don’t have any testimonials or previous examples of my work, what do I do to convince them?
There are four key points that I say in response to this question. I want to share them with you now.
1. You don't need to be an expert to get paid for your work
Here’s a little secret that most people won’t ever tell you: Everyone feels insecure about being inadequate at their craft in the beginning. Even people who have been working in the field for 20 years still hear a voice in the back of their head that says “Who are you to be charging for these services? How long will it take for people to find out that you’re a total fraud?”
So, if you’re worried about your experience or skill, you are not alone. It’s totally normal to feel insecure about this in your new business.
But here’s the good news: No one actually expects you to be an expert. All they care about is you helping them to solve an issue faster than they would be able to solve it themselves.
If you are even half a step ahead of them in terms of your skills and knowledge, they will be more than happy to pay for you for your services.
Here’s one of my favorite examples to highlight this idea. Think about the time you first learned how to cook pasta. Maybe it was a parent or sibling who taught you how to boil the water, put the pasta into the pot, set the timer for 10 minutes, and then drain it.
When you learned this skill, did you turn to your mom and demand that she tell you what cooking awards she had won? Did you ask to see her diploma from culinary school? Did you inquire about her participation on Iron Chef?
Probably not, because it doesn’t matter. All that matters was that she was able to help you learn this skill faster than you would have been able to learn it yourself.
If you can help a client do that - even if you’re still learning the craft yourself - receiving compensation for your work is totally valid.
Making this mindset switch and accepting your skill set for what it is is crucial to gaining clients in the beginning. Otherwise, your clients will see right through your insecurities.
2. Offer free work
I used to be very anti-free work. I was disgusted when someone requested that I write the first three articles for free as a copywriter to “prove myself”, or provide a free marketing strategy before getting started.
But now, I’ve learned that when the idea comes from the service provider and the free work is within reasonable means, this is one of the fastest ways to gain testimonials, build relationships with industry players, gain a reputation for yourself, and open the doors to your first set of clients.
This is also a great option for those who are still uncomfortable charging for their work and want to lower the pressure.
In order to do this, identify a series of potential clients and reach out with a proposal on how you can help them improve. Explain exactly what you do and how you’ll help them see results, and offer it free of charge. Very few companies will say no to this.
If you’re uncomfortable offering full-blown free work, create a smaller, short-term package that you can offer them. For example, if you’re a social media marketer, offer them one month of free social media help. If you’re a business coach, offer them a one-hour free coaching session. If you’re a developer, offer to create a new page for their website. Offer whatever is comfortable for you without feeling taken advantage of.
After this experience, 99% of companies will be more than happy to provide you with testimonials. You then have some new work examples to add to your portfolio and you have a new relationship with a potential client. They could then turn into a new client and they can refer you to others. Win win win.
3. Create content and get it published
I know what you’re thinking: This one is a no-duh. But what most people don’t do is take the blog content that they create and submit it to various publications. If you can get featured in one publication, even if it’s a low-level one with a relatively small readership, this is immediate social proof that you can add to your website.
And within that small readership, even if one of them resonates with your article, they can become a client within 24 hours. This is such a simple step to take, yet most people get stuck at the above mentioned “I’m not good enough!” phase to actually hit the submit button. My advice? Get over yourself and just do it. You can easily identify various publications with tools like BuzzSumo.
So get writing!
4. Go for the low-hanging, local fruit
Most likely, there are people right in front of your eyes who are ready and willing to invest in your services, but you're too busy online to even notice them. These people are your family members, friends, and others in your community.
For example, if you're trying to start a Facebook Ads agency, instead of finding online entrepreneurs who want to sign with you, find local doctors offices, restaurants, and clothing shops. It is much easier to gain the trust and support of local business owners than it is online businesses.
Brick and mortar shops aren't exposed to the amount of online competition that you are in terms of service providers. If you're trying to find clients in a Facebook group, for example, you might be posting within a community of 10,000 other digital marketers. But if you walk into your local dentist office, establish common ground ("My aunt's a patient here!" or "I grew up with your kids!"), and tell them how you can help their business, it will be much easier to close the sale.
Even if these local businesses aren't your ideal clients, they're still a great place to start for getting some experience and testimonials under your belt.
5. Fake it till you make it
This goes back to the above college application story. For whatever reason, this concept gets a bad reputation. This shocks me because every single entrepreneur I know across various industries has used this technique to break through barriers and see success. It’s just how it works.
But when I say “fake it till you make it”, I’m not talking about blatantly lying and creating a false identity for yourself. I’m talking about having the confidence to envision your future and channeling that reality today.
Essentially, your thoughts, words, and self-perception become your reality. If you perceive yourself as inexperienced, that will be communicated to others. But if you perceive yourself as a badass who’s totally confident and capable of helping others achieve success, that will be communicated too.
Here’s an example.
My mom has a friend who had a dream of opening up a clothing store 15 years ago. She didn’t know anything about fashion or retail or entrepreneurship, but she decided to go for it anyway. She got the loan, opened the store, and it quickly became one of the most well-known women’s clothing stores in our area.
How did this happen? She told people that she was a successful brick and mortar store owner from day one. She talked about how people flooded in on her store’s opening day, even though attendance was underwhelming. Her personality was full of confidence when others asked her about her new store was doing. She got her family and friends to wear shirts around town with the store’s name on it and hung up flyers. She created a buzz even when the buzz wasn’t really there.
Essentially, she channeled this imaginary success around her business until it manifested into her reality. And this is what you need to do too.
Just as you had to do as a 17-year-old writing a college essay on your life’s greatest accomplishments, you now need to do that in your business. Identify your skill set and any relevant experiences, and build a story upon them that will make them stand out. Learn how to speak about yourself in a way that emulates confidence, success, excitement, and drive. That alone will sell itself.
I understand that getting your first client in the door is intimidating, but the greatest challenge that you're really facing are your own mental barriers that are sabotaging your success. If you follow the above steps, you'll be an expert booking clients in no time. Now...go!