Consistency Leads to Opportunities in Your Lifestyle Business

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I’ve been in a deep funk for the last two months or so. During that time, I let a lot of opportunities slip. In my inbox right now, there are over 1,6000 emails. This is the most email that I’ve let pile up; I’m normally great at getting through email and responding. As I have started to go through the email, the speaking gigs, consulting work, and potential new coaching clients that I have missed shocks me. It’s downright depressing.

I’m a little surprised that people keep reaching out to me to speak and consult, but I shouldn’t be. For the first three years of my lifestyle business, I worked hard to find and pitch opportunities. I went after everything in hopes of building my dream. A few years ago, I started writing for large publications. After over a year of consistently writing solid articles for as many large publications as I can, the opportunities have started to come to me. I can look through my inbox and see the direct result of my efforts.

I will spend the next week clearing out my inbox and responding to the opportunities that are still active. I will lock in some cool gigs, like the one I just signed to speak at in Tokyo, Japan. What I am doing and have done is not something that can’t be repeated. Things have not worked out as planned, but I’m still grateful for what I have been blessed with. You can build a successful lifestyle business that involves doing the things you enjoy and you can do it at your pace. My initial pace was far too fast and it cost me dearly. You can learn from my mistakes and build in a smarter way.

It Starts With Your Website

I often get asked about blogging—many see it as a big waste of time. There are many reasons you should be putting out consistent content: it builds your following, it shows you know what you’re talking about, it helps people feel comfortable spending money with you, and it educates your audience. But, it also shows editors, event organizers, and potential companies that want to hire you that you are an expert and they can feel comfortable spending money with you.

If your website is a ghost town, you won’t get very far in your building efforts. Getting to the money and all the fun parts of this business starts with putting out great content that educates, inspires, and demonstrates. If you have not been consistent on your website with content, it’s time to start. You can’t get the bigger opportunities until you have your house in order. (more…)

4 Things You Can Do Today to Make More Money Every Day

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Money isn’t the only reason to start or grow a business but you better believe it’s important. If your business isn’t making money, all you have is a nice hobby. There are a lot of activities you can do that seem like they will lead to income but they won’t. Successful entrepreneurs avoid the time wasters and focus on what will help their business grow.

There are four things you could do today — you could start right now if you’re not doing them — that could lead to more income in your business. These are simple but overlooked strategies that have withstood the test of time and technology. Your business can experience explosive growth with the right focus.

1. Sell more than makes you comfortable.
Chances are, you sell in your business. While you may know selling is important, you may not realize that you aren’t selling enough. The human brain can be a funny organ. Someone on your email list or involved in your ecosystem may need to see something as many as 37 times before it clicks in their brain.

While it feels like you are selling a lot, you probably aren’t selling enough. When you sell, you are bound to upset people — that’s okay. If you are consistently providing value for your audience, you have earned the right to tell them about your premium offerings. Sell more than you feel comfortable and you’ll see your income and business grow. Your audience wants to buy from you, they just need to know what you offer — tell them consistently.

2. Spend each day on income producing strategies.
Our natural inclination is to wake up and do what we feel is urgent. We check email, browse through social media and may even take calls. If you want to make more money now, start your day by doing things that lead to income. It could be crafting a well-written sales email to you email list, calling an old client and renewing their contract, or spending time selling to a lead who you know is ready to buy.

Start each day pursuing hot opportunities that require only a little work to close. You may not close a sale every day, but over time, you will close more and that will add to your bottom line. As this becomes a habit, you will be a well-oiled machine that knows how to spot opportunities. (more…)

When Your Relationship Falls Apart While Building a Lifestyle Business

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You don’t plan on it happening, but life doesn’t always work out as planned. You simply want to build something for the person you love, but situations get in the way of your plans. You try hard to make the best out of a bad situation, but nothing that you do fixes the situation.

The distance is hard. The time away is hard. It feels like everything is all going wrong at the same time. You want to make things better, but you feel your relationship slipping away from you. Before you know it, you’re having the “talk.” The relationship is over.

You feel conflicting emotions. You are happy that your business is doing well, but you are sad that you lost the person you love in the process. You tried everything you could, but you can’t get them back. You try to reason beyond reason, but some things can’t be reasoned. What you do next determines how the rest of your year—and possibly your life—will go.

You have to make smart decisions—not only for your life—but also for your business. You have to look past what you feel and do what’s right for the situation. You have to think rationally even though everything inside of you is screaming. You have to find a way to pick yourself up when all you want to do is hide underneath the covers.

This is the situation I currently find myself in. Despite all my plans, things have not gone as planned at all. Every day I wake up and feel a wide range of emotions. I’m also dealing with attacks from all kinds of people because of half-truths that have been spread about me. I’m not writing theories here. I’m writing from real life experience.

Reaching Out for Support

I was in a funk for two months. I didn’t think about business. I didn’t want to take care of myself. All I wanted to do was listen to music whole hiding under the covers. It wasn’t until my best friend, Chaka, came to Colombia to visit me that I woke up. Seeing him and talking to him did something for me. It helped me see past my situation and see what I was doing.

During those two months, I did a lot of damage. I lost some customers. I lost some opportunities for speaking and consulting at a few new companies. I lost some friends. It was not a good time. That support from my best friends was my lifeblood. When you’re going through it, you want to handle things all by yourself. You want to hide and try to forget what you’re going through. You can’t do this alone. Don’t try to do this alone. Reach out for support because it’s one of the smart things you can do. (more…)

5 Ways to Take the High Road When Haters Attack Your Reputation

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As an entrepreneur, you work hard to build a reputation of integrity and trust. You understand that people do business with someone they know, like and trust, so you make it your goal to do business in that way. You keep your promises and you over-deliver with your products and services.

Life would be good if you could continue operating your business with no issues, but that’s not a reality. Attacks on your business and reputation are bound to happen, especially as you grow. Jealousy, envy, and other emotions can enter people’s mind and cause them to want to damage your business and attack your reputation.

Left unchecked, your customers could start believing what’s not true. I know this because I’m facing this very situation in my business. Over the last five years, I’ve openly and honestly built a successful lifestyle business. Despite my desire to serve, a few bad apples are determined to cloud the message. For a while, I thought I would stay quiet and let my reputation speak for itself. It’s taken some time to realize that’s not enough and not proactive. Here are five ways we, as entrepreneurs, can handle an attack on what we’ve built.

1. Don’t get into the mud with those attacking you.
It’s natural to want to fire right back at your attackers but it looks bad and it doesn’t solve anything. You get angrier and come off looking less professional. You don’t want to stay quiet, but you don’t want to let your emotions react for you. Ignore what they are saying and let your character and commitment to helping people do the talking for you. Actions speak louder than words.

2. Assure your loyal customers that business will continue as usual.
Customers fear a situation like this will lead to you being less productive, or worse, you closing your business. Let your customers know that you’re in business for the long haul and can weather any storm. Let them know they will still get the same or an even higher level of service from you. Difficult situations are what separate those who aren’t committed–don’t let that be you. (more…)

The Top Five Large Publications You Should Target and Why

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This is one of the most asked questions that comes through my inbox. You see value in writing for large media publications, but you also want to maximize your efforts. There are a number of publications that you could choose but a handful will give you 80% of the results with 20% of your effort.

I called these publications “core” with my coaching clients and we start by targeting them. Writing for large publications is a great way, in general, to reach an untapped and always changing audience. You can grow an email list, get booked to speak, leverage your status for paid consulting at companies and far more. I picked these publications because they give you the best opportunity to do all of those things.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post gets 218 million unique visitors a month—that is reason enough to write for them. In addition to the traffic, they have a name that 99% of people will recognize. If want to leverage a name for speaking or consulting, the HuffPost is that name. They can help you build your lifestyle business, sell books (you get a book widget), build your email list, and much more. Targeting them will be worth your time because you can also leverage the name to get into the other publications.

Success.com 

SUCCESS is a pillar in the personal development industry. When you think of a solid publication with good content, you think of SUCCESS. The good content they consistently put out has led to a HUGE audience and they are responsive. This publication can help you build your list and build your business. It’s also a name that translates beyond the online space. SUCCESS has a paid platform that companies know and use, so when you approach them as a contributor for SUCCESS, you will get their attention. 

Entreprenuer.com

Writing for Entrepreneur has led to all of the speaking and consulting work that I’ve done over the last two years. Business owners, HR people, and entrepreneurs read this publication religiously. You will get tons of organic leads in your lifestyle business while writing for one of the most respected websites in the world.  (more…)

5 Ways to Leverage Large Publication Exposure

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If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know I’m a fan of leveraging large publication exposure. In the last two years, writing for some of the largest websites in the world has allowed my business to grow faster than I can handle. It’s opened doors to new opportunities and chances to live out my dream in a bigger way.

What I like so much about this strategy is that you can do it, too. You don’t have to be some super established expert to write an article that gets you accepted as a regular contributor. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you have seen the tips I’ve given on my blog and on various podcasts. Here are five ways you can leverage large publication exposure.

1. Building your email list. 

To build a successful lifestyle business, you have to sell some of your knowledge. The people on your email list are the ones who are most likely to buy what you’re selling. Your fans or followers on social media belong to those social media platforms. If they decide to change things, you are left picking up the pieces if you have built your following there. If someone is on your email list, they will see the messages you send out more than they’ll see them on social media. Large publications give you access to literally million’s of people and some of them will click back and sign up for your email list.

2. Getting your message out to a wider audience.

As I mentioned in the previous point, you get exposure to millions on some of these websites. If the money or opportunities aren’t your primary motivator, then getting exposure for your message is possible in a bigger way. You can spread of a message of hope to people who really need it through large publications.

3. Booking paid speaking.

When it comes to paid speaking, the money is not at the events we know and probably attend every year. There is some money in conferences in the ‘online space,’ but that’s probably just for the keynoters. Most of the money in paid speaking comes from events and industries you have probably never heard of. Those kinds of conferences are looking for speakers with social proof they can leverage. Saying you are a contributor to the largest websites in the world is a draw for their audience. Leverage any exposure you have to book paid speaking gigs all over the world.  (more…)

4 Things Every Large Publication Editor is Looking for in a Pitch

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I am a contributing writer for some of the largest websites in the world. Additionally, my words have appeared in places such as Fox News, NBC News, Yahoo, Time, and many other prestigious outlets. I also edit at the Good Men Project. When it comes to exposure in large publications, I know a little bit about this stuff.

Getting exposure in mainstream publications has made all the difference in my business over the last couple of years—I wrote about that last post. It’s exposed what I do to a completely untapped audience. I know that there are many who read my blog that would love to contribute to some of these sites. Here’s what the editors at these sites are looking for.

1. A content producer who produces content regularly.

When an editor visits your website, they want to see someone who regularly puts out good content. I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve checked out of people who were pitching me that hadn’t posted on their own site in ages. Editors don’t want to bring on one-hit wonders. They want people who would be willing to contribute content regularly to the publication—someone who doesn’t do it on their own website is a red flag to an editor. Before you pitch any publication, make sure you are actively putting out content and have been doing so for at least a few months. 

2. Someone who knows what they are talking about.

An editor wants to see you are producing content on topics you have some knowledge of. If you are writing about building an online business but haven’t built one that supports you, it doesn’t connect. An editor will look at what you’ve put out on your site, and look at what you put out in other places, to make sure you have some knowledge of your topic. Research can be your best friend in becoming knowledgeable about a topic you’re passionate about.  (more…)

The One Change That Led to Success in My Lifestyle Business

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2011 was a rough year. It was the year that I woke up and decided to chase my dream, but I had no clue what I was doing. I tried to research but all the information online just overwhelmed me. I listened to the advice and tried seven different ways to make money in my lifestyle business with limited success.

2012 and 2013 were building years. I made some progress and even enough money to leave my bread delivery job. But, the real breakthrough in my lifestyle business came in 2015. That was the year I stopped trying to chase the online audience and went after the mainstream audience.

Go Mainstream

I know a lot of people who have been building a lifestyle business for years but haven’t made the progress they’ve wanted to make. I know people who have tried everything but the money never seems to come. Almost every time, the reason can be traced to a lack of audience or the lack of a non-crossover audience.

Think about this. In the online space–the space where there are influencers, income reports and a lot of the same kinds of conferences–there is a ton of crossover. The same people listen to the same podcasts; they attend the same conferences and read the same blogs. When it’s time for this audience to spend a little money, they usually buy a program or services from someone at the top.

Going after a mainstream audience puts you in a completely different space. 218 million people read the Huffington Post every month. Spend a minute and think about that number. There isn’t mush crossover in that audience. It’s the same for all the largest websites in the world. Writing for large media publications, consulting at companies, speaking at mainstream conferences are a few ways to go after a mainstream audience.

In 2015, I stopped chasing the crossover and went after a fairly untapped audience. It made all the difference in my business. My business exploded so much it caused me to enter a funk with all the interactions. I have also gotten bigger and more interesting opportunities by focusing on a mainstream audience. (more…)

The Secret of Million-Dollar Brands Is Their Cult-Like Following

12814380_965544623530975_6361583332365559564_nIf you want to consult for one of these companies that has built loyal fans, check out my brand new class:”Booking Paid Consulting 101.” 

When you think about some of the world’s greatest brands and most successful entrepreneurs, they all have one thing in common — a cult-like following. When Apple releases a new iPhone, there are people lined up for days outside of Apple stores all over the world. When Malcolm Gladwell releases a new book, it’s all but guaranteed to be a New YorkTimes bestseller. When Warren Buffet invests or buys a company, there’s a large group of investors who follow suit.

We live in the Information Age. Today, three billion people log onto the Internet every day. We live in a time of unparalleled access to knowledge and opportunity. There’s has never been a better time to build a million dollar brand that attracts some of those three billion people.

Successful brands have a loyal and cult-like following, and it’s not an accident how they reached the position they are currently in. There were six ways they built their brand and principles they continue to use despite reaching incredible levels of success in their lives and businesses. You can use these principles to build your brand, and that, in turn, will build your business.

1. Never stop connecting personally.

One of the issues that arise when you achieve success is having enough time. You have responsibilities that need to be taken care of while having to maintain your business and its growth. Successful brands are one where the customer feels that personal connection.

Despite having grown a highly popular and cult-like brand, Gray Vaynerchuk continues to connect with his clients/followers on a personal level. That personal connection is what fuels his fans to tell others about Gary. Word of mouth marketing is still a powerful way to grow a business. Don’t lose sight of where you started and who helped you get to where you are. You can’t connect with everyone, but you can do your best to stay in touch with your community.

2. Don’t copy influencers.

One of the most common ways to create success is to model it. Modeling, however, is NOT the same as copying. There’s a temptation to look at the leaders in your industry and try to copy what they’re doing. Consumers buy from someone they know, like, and trust. They can never start the buying process in their mind if they never get to know the real you. You’ll never create a million dollar brand if it’s the clone of someone else’s.

3. Over deliver on your promises.

People recognize and respect a brand that’s real. There’s no shortage of self-proclaimed “experts” that make promises but don’t deliver. Million dollar brands start with an entrepreneur who does what they say and works hard to fulfill their obligations. Don’t make promises just to impress—make promises that you’ll do everything in your power to make a reality. (more…)

One Way to Get Paid More as a Public Speaker

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I can clearly remember the thrill of getting my first check from speaking at a conference. The check wasn’t much, but I LOVED being paid to travel and speak. I wasn’t very good during that first talk, but it sparked a desire to travel and speak on topics that I was passionate about.

I’ve come a long way since that first check. In 2012, I spoke 36 times and all over the world. I made $22,000 (roughly) in speaking income. In 2013, I spoke 12 times but made more income. In 2014, I didn’t speak at all because we moved from Wisconsin to Maui, Hawaii. In 2015, I spoke 16 times but made more money than all the other years combined.

2015 was a breakthrough year in my business and an epiphany in my speaking career. Most of the speaking I did in 2015 is an opportunity that too many speakers either don’t know about or neglect to try. What changed in 2015, and an opportunity for you to make more money as a speaker, is paid consulting at companies.

What is Paid Consulting?

Business Insider estimates that companies paid outside consultants $39.3 billion dollars in 2014. I don’t know what the figures are for conferences, but that’s a lot of money. Paid consulting isn’t as glamorous as speaking to 1,000 people at a conference, but you can get more in-depth and make a couple of bucks.

Paid consulting is where you train at a company on a topic you have some knowledge of. You don’t have to be some kind of “established” expert to get booked at a company. You have to identify a problem within a company that you can solve. I have coaching clients that consult companies on mindset training for their employees, engineering, sales, social media, marketing, leadership and more. These companies range from being a single owner to large corporations.

The Difference

There are many conferences happening all over the world every day. Some of these conferences pay speakers—a lot of them do not (maybe the keynoters). Not every company brings in outside consultants to train, but more than you think can and will. These companies have budgets within a certain department, or as a company, to pay for training. There is more money to be made at companies versus conferences. (more…)