And why it’s okay for it to scare you
Since I like to start each blog with a story, I’d like to quickly revisit the story I told in my podcast Episode1: “Good on Paper.” The quick synopsis of it is that when I was younger, I had what I thought were BOLD visions of my career. I imagined myself as a successful career woman from the age of about 13. I did everything in my power to achieve success. I graduated college, got a master’s degree and landed some pretty awesome jobs in TV and even at NASA. Those goals were accomplished pretty quickly and I was left feeling uninspired early in my career.
But, in my 40’s my attitude changed as my experience grew and I realized my true calling was in uplifting other women on their entrepreneurial journey. As I was going through this new season in my career, I of course prayed about a new direction and where God would want me. But, I also reached out to influential women I look up to who were doing great things.
One of those women was Pegine Echevarria, who is a nationally known speaker and coach on Women and Leadership. She’s a rock star. I met Pegine when I was a panelist on the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum panel. Pegine was the keynote. When I saw her speak, I said “That’s it!” This is what I want to do with my life!
I hired Pegine as a Coach. Yes, coaches have coaches. All of the most successful entrepreneurs have coaches, just like a professional athlete.
Pegine asked me to close my eyes and picture myself in the future doing what I love at work. I saw myself in a red suit jacket, speaking to a crowd of thousands of women. Sharing what I know, encouraging them, and uplifting them. I even had the vision of purple lights in the background! The other part of my vision is that when I walk off stage, I’m not hurried back to my office. I’m traveling and can explore a new city, meet new people, and enjoy life. Since I’m getting paid for what I know and not just what I do, I am building margin into my life that allows me to be involved in my church, present at home, and taking care of myself and those around me. To me, this is a BOLD vision.
This exercise was important for me to identify the end goal of my career. In doing that step, I can now make decisions that will help me get there limiting distractions.
In my book Amplify Your Business, we dive deep into setting a BOLD Vision. The key here is not to confuse your BOLD vision with your business objective. It’s not the WHAT you do, it’s a bigger picture meant to inspire you and your team as well.
Also, let me point out the word BOLD. This is key. Your BOLD vision should actually scare you a little. Think beyond the ordinary. Think bigger than your competition. Really push yourself here.
For example, a BOLD vision for a non-profit could be “A World Without Poverty”
My personal BOLD vision written is “Changing Business for Good, and Leading Women into Greatness.”
When you define your BOLD vision people will want to contribute to it. It will resonate with them.
How To Share Your BOLD Vision
So, how do you define your BOLD vision?
To do this, start by creating a list of the attributes you want your LIFE to have. Not what your business would have.
Next, make a list of the ways in which your talents, services and skills can be leveraged in various formats. Don’t limit yourself into what you’re doing now.
Then ask yourself the question, “If my message were a movement, would I buy in?”
To wrap up the exercise, draft out 3-4 example BOLD vision statements for yourself. Print them out and begin to create a vision board for yourself with inspiring words and images.
Why am I Telling You This Story?
Because once you have your BOLD vision identified, every decision you make from here on should contribute to that BOLD vision. When an opportunity presents itself to you, you can use your BOLD vision as a litmus test. Does it contribute or detract?
The main takeaway here is to think beyond ordinary. When you are able to define and establish your BOLD vision, people will want to contribute to it.
And how you can be successful once your values are identified
Values in business leadership is an important topic if you are interested in attracting like-minded people to you or your business.
When you lead with your values, you can attract the perfect clients, hire the right employees and staff, find partnerships that will work, and find more fulfillment and purpose in what you do.
Here’s a confession: When my business partners and I started Rock My Image in 2013, we made the mistake of not identifying our shared values up front. This result was that we attracted mismatched clients and dealt with a lot of frustration in the early years.
It was hard for us to instantly see the repercussions of this since our business was booming and our client list was long. We actually had the problem of too many clients! But over time, what resulted was frustration from having to compete on price and just being seen as a commodity to a few of the business owners we worked with.
Because we failed to identify and communicate our values early on, we were frequently stressed out because we were working on projects that didn’t give us purpose. We were having communication problems with mismatched clients who didn’t see eye-to-eye with our approach and we had less job satisfaction.
There were so many days when I personally felt like giving up because I was not understood and respected.
I had a change of heart when we started making tough decisions about the types of projects we would accept and who we wanted to work with. We took time to examine our business from afar and realized that we needed to do this work. We need to identify and communicate our values.
Being true to self – trusting and having faith to be the person I am meant to be. Not an imitation or skin deep version. But showing up with everything that I am.
Financial magnetism – valuing my experience and knowledge enough so that others will too. Getting paid what I’m worth and not accepting second best.
Authority – owning my place as an expert in my field and sharing what I know in a way that is empowering and inspiring to others.
At Rock My Image, our values are:
- Trustworthy & Integrity Filled Reputations that help build our brand and business.
- Passionate Spirits that keep us motivated and inspire others.
- Positive Attitudes about our work and lives.
- Bold Visions for our future and current success as well as our clients.
- Creative Minds to produce great work.
- Results Oriented Actions for a more effective approach.
- Fun, Playful Environments to make coming to work and working with us a joy.
- Smart People so we can learn from each other.
- Leadership Abilities to grow in our careers, lead by example and teach others.
The result has been amazing since staying true to our values!
In the last year, our revenue and profit is up while the number of projects we work on has gone down. Now, don’t be confused. This is a good thing! We’re working smarter and not harder. We’re working with the right clients that have shared vision and values. The result is that we have less stress and are happier at work on a day to day basis.
How To Identify Your Values for Business Leadership
So, how do you identify your values so that you can communicate them clearly and attract the perfect clients? The goal is to narrow down your values to the Top 3.
- To do this, start by creating a list of the values that your favorite existing clients have. This could be their corporate culture values and their personal values as well.
- Next, make a list of the values that describe your family members and friends. These are the people you enjoy being around the most and probably have the most in common with you.
- Then make a list of the values that your best employees, contractors, or partners have. Again, this can be their personal values.
- To wrap up the exercise, make a list of your values.
- Finally, you will look at your lists and combine like values together and eliminate the ones that are redundant or just not as strong.
- Narrow the list down to the top 6.
- Then narrow it down even further to the top 3.
Why am I Telling You This Story?
Because once you have your values identified, and you can communicate them, you too will experience greater satisfaction and fulfillment at work or in your business.
The main takeaway here is to remember to establish your values upfront with your clients and colleagues. It will save you tons of time and unnecessary stress in the long run. Let your values be known, and you’ll attract the attention of like-minded individuals, setting you up for success.
And how you can determine the true purpose behind your business
Identify the WHY
There are challenges every day that will feel like you’re taking one step forward and 2 steps back. There will be times when you feel frustrated, discouraged, beat up, unappreciated, and worn out. There are times we all need motivation.
Most people in the spotlight in business don’t want to talk about the tough times. They want to only focus on the successes and gloss over the hard parts. But, that’s not reality. So, when you hit the tough times, you’ll feel like you’re doing something wrong or aren’t good enough, don’t have the right tools, education, training or whatever they’re trying to sell you.
But, the truth is that failure and setbacks are part of the entrepreneurial journey. They’re part of mine and they are part of yours.
So, identifying the WHY, is important because it will keep you focused, inspired, and motivated in a deeper way that goes beyond a catchy Instagram quote.
Your WHY goes deep. It gets to the root and will motivate you to keep going when others quit.
Most people haven’t taken the time to really think about the core reasons of Why they do what they do. A lot of people think money drives them but money alone is worthless. Of course you can buy things with money but are you working for things? Do things really drive people?
To get to the core we’re going to go several layers deep into the Why you really do what you do.
Start by answering simply why you do what you do? When you answer, ask why again and repeat six times until you truly find the core.
This exercise is from Frank DeRaffele (www.frankderaffele.com) who spoke at a BNI conference. He told the story of how he was working with a man that seemed to be dissatisfied with his life despite the facts that he had a good paying job, a great family and had a lot of material things. On the surface, he appeared to have it all. But, in reality he was uninspired, unfulfilled and unmotivated.
Frank asked the man to find his why by asking this series of questions:
When asked Why he did what he did he answered “To get money.”
When asked Why again he replied “To be able to afford nice things.”
When asked Why again he replied “To make my wife and kids happy.”
When asked Why again he replied “To be a good father and husband.”
When asked Why again he replied “Because my father was not able to support me.”
The core of the reason he worked hard was not to get money it was to be a better father for his kids than his father was to him. Money has been proven not to buy long term happiness. Money can not fuel a fire forever. When you have much more money than you’d ever need, what would be your motivation then? Finding the true reason for his efforts gave him something to stay passionate and committed to.
The same can be said for the Why behind starting a business. The reasons Why you do what you do affects many factors that can contribute to your potential for success.
So what is the real reason you’re in business? What is that inner purpose pushing you? How can you share it with the world and in your marketing?
Why am I Telling You This Story?
To force you to dig deeper so that you’ll have a tool that will keep you motivated when times get tough on your entrepreneurial or business journey.
The main takeaway here is to really dig deep to find WHY you are doing what you’re doing. Because it may be for a different reason than the one you think. By finding your WHY, you will have something to stay motivated about. If you let that be the driving force behind your business, then there is no reason why you should ever doubt what you’re doing.
And how you can build a business and life that defies the odds
Who’s the Boss?
In 1986 I was a freshman in high school and Who’s the Boss was one of the most popular shows on television. You may remember it if you were fans of Alyssa Milano, Tony Danza or you just liked big shoulder pads and hair that defied gravity, like I did. Who’s the Boss was built around the main character Angela Bower (played by Judith Light) who was a divorced advertising executive and mom. The other main character Tony, was forced to retire from professional baseball, moved to Connecticut and ended up taking a job as Angela’s live-in housekeeper.
This show defied stereotypes for women and men since Angela was the main breadwinner and Tony stayed at home and took care of the family and house. Coming from a conservative, military family and traditional upbringing, this show was a game changer for me at that impressionable time in my life. I saw Angela as powerful, strong, independent, successful and I wanted to be just like her. I remember a moment sitting on the arm of the couch, pointing at the tv and telling my dad that I was going to be “just like Angela when I grow up.”
Good on Paper
So, I proceeded to do everything I thought I needed to do in order to achieve Angela Bower levels of success. I went to college (check). Got an undergrad degree (check). Went to grad school and got a master’s degree (check). Landed my dream job (check). And married Mister Right Now (check.) Everything was lining up perfectly and I had achieved “Good on Paper” life status!
Except, there was a major problem. I hated my life.
What I thought was going to make me happy did not. Major issue.
So, as a result of my mid-life crisis, I started my own business. I turned my photography hobby into a six-figure business and poured my heart and soul into it. If you are an entrepreneur you know how the story goes. I was working day and night, weekends, and holidays to make it work. Unfortunately, due to my preoccupation with my business, my marriage ended and I was again forced to reevaluate my priorities.
About 7 years ago, I began to strike the right balance. I gave up trying to be “Good on Paper” Angela Bower-successful and focused instead on building a business that would give me freedom. I created a business that could run without me in it day-to-day and began to share my knowledge instead of my time. Wow! What a difference this has made.
I have finally achieved the American Dream of owning my own business, but without it being at the expense of my family life and happiness. Three years ago I married the man of my dreams and am now focused on keeping my priorities straight and leveraging my tools and time so I get paid for what I know and not what I do.
Here are my top 5 tips for creating a business and life that defies the odds:
- Design your business model around the lifestyle you desire. Most of us design our life around our business. It should be the other way around, especially if you want to have a life outside of work. Click HERE for a free Vision Planning Guide.
- Tap into your talents, gifts, and experience. In order to not be seen as a commodity, you need to share your unique point of view and voice with the world. Share your positive message and be an encouragement to others. Turn your tests into testimony and your trials into triumphs.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. Instead focus on doing what only you can do and outsource the rest. The earlier you start delegating, the sooner you can start thriving. Hire the bookkeeper, find a web developer, get a virtual assistant. Just do it. Check out Fiverr.com for virtual talent.
- Turn your expertise into intellectual property. Start with a blog, then write a book. Host webinars, workshops, and create products out of what you know. This will create recurring revenue streams that work while you sleep. I use and recommend WordPress for blogging.
- Leverage technology and tools. Harness the power of the internet to stay productive, relevant, and top of mind. Create a community of like-minded individuals by turning your message into a movement. Help others get what they want and you’ll get what you want, the business of your dreams.
A few of my favorite tools for entrepreneurs include: SharpSpring automated marketing software, Basecamp project management, and social media for networking. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The main takeaway here is don’t be afraid to let go of your preconceived ideas of success in order to achieve the business and life of your dreams. It’s never too late to start again. With the right tools, you can leverage your talents and knowledge and get paid for what you know, not what you do and gain the freedom you desire.
I just downloaded a free ebook from some top thought leaders and entrepreneurs titled Achieve What Matters in 2017. The list includes some of my favorite people including Lysa TerKeurst, Chalene Johnson, Dave Ramsey, and others.
The ebook mentions that expressing gratitude is the #3 best practice high achievers do to set themselves up for continued entrepreneurial success. Get your copy HERE.
In the spirit of putting into ACTION what I learn, I am pleased to share my list of 50 Things I’m Grateful for from 2016:
…in no particular order 😉
- A close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ
- My loving husband Will
- The safety, health and love of my supportive family
- Freedom and living in the USA
- An amazing church family and women’s group at Beaches Vineyard
- Two positive and awesome business partners Manny and Kenny
- Our support team in Rock My Image
- Wonderful neighbors who love to eat, laugh, and share
- A beautiful home and access to plenty of healthy food, clothes, and necessities
- Continued good health and access to health care
- A crazy, but loving tiny, little dog named Zoe
- Publishing my book and it being well received
- My fuel efficient Hybrid car
- A renewed outlook on my business
- Being able to attend NSA Influence conference in Phoenix
- Being able to attend Speaking Empire
- Positive, uplifting & fun Christian music
- Podcasts that motivate me on-the-go
- Coffee in the morning
- Social media to keep me connected with friends afar
- The NSA PowerWomen Group
- My first mentor- Pegine
- Graduating from ScaleUp
- Ski trips with my hubby
- Loyal clients
- Being able to encourage women through my podcast
- Painting classes at church
- Being able to forgive
- Finally finding a good skincare line
- Taking our Rock My Image show on the road
- Going to Propel Women’s Conference
- Finding my voice and message
- Being invited to write for Huffington Post
- Launching my own podcast on iTunes
- New business opportunities
- Meeting new friends
- Old friends that support me
- Daily devotional and prayer time
- The Hobby Lobby craft aisle
- The Target women’s section
- Publix subs and rotisserie chickens
- Clean white sheets and fluffy pillows
- Pedicures for special occasions
- Pinot noir
- Sound machines for white noise while I sleep
- A big closet
- Comfy but stylish shoes
- Travel mugs
- A bright future full of love, potential, and opportunities
What are you grateful for from 2016? Write your own list and share a few items with me in the comments below.
Follow your dreams. Find your passion. To me, these well meaning phrases meant to inspire have lost their luster. While I do agree that having big dreams and living with passion sound like good ideas, my eyes have been opened to the unintentional disservice they do to the business owner.
When I decided to leave Corporate America in 2003, I did so after starting to believe that if I could just find something I was “passionate” about, I could easily turn it into a successful business. Since my job at a Big Pharma Fortune 500 company left me feeling empty and uninspired, I picked up photography in order to fill my need to be creative. I jumped right into the photography industry investing tens of thousands of dollars in training, education, and programs that would make me a better photographer. Over a period of 7 years, I was able to build an award-winning photography business that had loyal clientele and even earned the prestigious Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation.
But, it wasn’t easy. The industry was saturated because digital cameras were making it possible for nearly anyone to become a pro overnight. During that time, I noticed many other photographers who were equally as talented struggling to make their businesses work. They too were “passionate” about photography, but it just wasn’t clicking for them (pun intended.) They were working so hard, but struggling to stay afloat.
When I closed the doors on my photography business in 2010, I was at the top of my game. I was winning awards and earning six-figures, but I had burnt out from shooting 30+ weddings a year, working tirelessly on week days, weekends and holidays, and wanted my life back. The decision I made to walk away from an industry I loved wasn’t easy, but I needed to go deeper.
I set out to build another business and used my experience to build a new business model that would sustain me in more ways than one. Now I have a business where I can have fun and use my creative talents, but also allows me to serve others by empowering and inspiring them. As a business speaker, I am accomplishing my bold vision.
I’ve been reflecting on why so many small business owners that attempt to turn a passion into a business burn-out and I’ve come to realize that it’s because they aren’t focusing on their purpose, which is the key to success in business and life.
Passion vs. Purpose in Business
Passion– a strong feeling of enthusiasm for something
Purpose– the reason why something is done
When we are passionate about a project, a hobby, or our work and attempt to build a business out of it, we turn our sights internally to what is making us happy in the short term.
When we are purposeful about a project, a hobby, or our work and attempt to build a business out of it, we turn our sights externally to what is filling a need and making others happy.
Instead of focusing on building a business on passion, instead focus on building a business with purpose. This will sustain you long term and build a solid foundation for growth.
- Find Your Why – your reason for being in business must go deeper than just making money. Do you want to leave a legacy, make a dramatic change in your industry, right a wrong? Reflect on your why.
- Create a Movement – if your mission were a movement, would you join in? Your business needs to be built on more than just selling products and services. What impact are you making?
- Build Your Community – the most successful people didn’t get to the top on their own. Open the channels of communication with your customers, partners, vendors, and supporters to build a community of like-minded individuals.
- Design Your Business Around Your Life (not the other way around) – start with the end in mind. Would you like to be able to work from anywhere? Does your family take precedence in your life? Imagine how free you would feel if you ran your business and it didn’t run you.
- Serve Others – giving back and lifting others up on your journey should be part of your business plan. Don’t lose sight of the greater purpose for your life. You are worth more than your job description. Incorporate ways to share your knowledge, provide encouragements, or be of service to others.
My hope in sharing this article is that your eyes will be opened to the greater potential your talents could serve. While starting a business in something you are passionate about may feel good short term, to avoid burnout, you’ll need a stronger foundation. Make time this week to reflect on how you can build more purpose into your business.
If you are able to reflect on this, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below.
I’m a Christian. I’m also a business owner. I am a member of a wonderful family- Christian Women in Business. For me, those two worlds are where I spend the majority of my waking hours. I’m either growing in my faith or growing as an entrepreneur. Recently, I’ve been struggling with reconciling the two worlds and seeing how or even if the two can merge.
Christian Women in Business
After working for years to become an expert in my field, I have been given the honor and privilege of having a platform. I am a published author, workshop leader, and now speaker. My work is narrowly focused on helping other small business owners achieve their goals by giving them the tools, systems and knowledge they need to succeed in marketing and grow their companies.
I am building a brand not only for myself, but for the agency in which I am a partner as well. I have two business partners whom I am proud to be in business with and our company Rock My Image, is not a “Christian company.” However, we are a company filled with positive, loving, and giving people. To be clear, we’re not like Chik-fil-a or Hobby Lobby publicly proclaiming to be built on “Christian” values.
Recently, I’ve been working with a coach to help me refine who I am as a presenter, speaker, and person who wants to inspire other women. As a mentor, Pegine challenges me to dig deeper, push harder, and examine who I really am. As part of my work with her she challenged me to interview 6 Power Women of the National Speaker’s Association, of which I am an Academy Member. These women are at the top of their field as speakers and also happen to be Christian.
What I found from my over 8 hours of interview time with them was that there is no “right” formula for balancing faith and work. Some choose to proclaim it loudly and work exclusively in the Christian market, while others work in the business market and choose to just live out their Christian values. We are Christian Women in Business.
As I continue to refine who I am as a follower of Jesus, business owner, and speaker, I am refining my message and looking for women that I can educate with business insights, but also encourage with my love and potentially even, my faith.
I am curious to know if you have found the balance in your work and faith lives and would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Writing a book is not just for creative writers. It can be a very valuable tool in your marketing strategy and can help you grow your consulting business, without even having to sell one copy! Writing our book Amplify Your Business: A Rockstar Professional’s Guide to Marketing Success has me reflecting on the process. Although it was a lot of work, it has turned out to be very rewarding. It’s like leaving your legacy behind for others to enjoy and learn from.
I’ve met so many people that have either tried to write a book, thought about writing a book, or want to write a book but they’re not sure how to start. The purpose of this blog post is to give you inspiration to get started writing the book that is inside you.
Why to Write a Business Book
C0-Author of Amplify Your Business
- a translator
- a content curator (sharing other people’s ideas)
- a content creator (creating new messages)
- a writer
- a photographer
- a video producer
- a marketer
- a strategist
- a business analyst
Through the book writing process for Amplify Your Business, I learned that I am also an EDUCATOR and I seek to be one that inspires. So, my career goals have changed. I no longer seek to only be an agency owner, I seek to be a teacher to entrepreneurs and professional women in particular. Since making this change in my mindset, I’ve opened myself up to speaking opportunities and have even started taking on leadership roles at my church. What a blessing this book has been to see myself differently!
When I began my marketing and communications career, I knew that I wanted to own an agency, but never thought about writing a book. The inspiration for our book came from seeing a need. Business owners needed some foundational knowledge that would help them make better marketing decisions. I knew we could save them time and money if they were armed with the right info.
The first thing we did was put faces and names to actual people in our lives that we knew could benefit from such a book. That was helpful: putting the persona together. Then we worked on the concept and content.
I’ll get into planning to write a book in a later blog post, but the thing I want to nail down today is just to inspire you to think about one question:
If you could help others by writing a book, who would you help? What would it be about?
Just begin to do some reflection and meditation on that concept and see what comes up for you. I think you’ll begin to see yourself and your consulting business differently.
I’m not creative.
I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.
My company doesn’t like us being “different.”
Being “artsy” just isn’t my thing.
If any of those statements above resonate with YOU then this post is important for you to read. It is especially important if you are a business owner, a leading professional or in any way responsible for achieving some level of success at work or in your life.
For some of us, being creative comes naturally. It is part of our DNA. I happen to be one of those people. I was the kid selling arts and crafts at the end of her parent’s driveway in 5th grade instead of lemonade. I had a drafting table in my bedroom when I was in high school. Doing creative things is part of who I am and how I express myself.
For others, being creative may not come naturally. It is a skill that needs to be practiced and nurtured. This is not just so that you can fill your house withe the most popular Pinterest projects. Creativity is an important aspect of achieving success whether that is at work, in church or in your local hobby group.
Creative thinking allows you to remove barriers, see in fresh perspectives, and solve problems is unique ways. Creativity can actually help you achieve success in whatever form that means for you.
“Creativity is the intelligence having fun.” –Albert Einstein
3 Tips to Maximize Creative Thinking While Planning for Success.
From Marketing Speaker, Jen DeVore Richter
Creativity Tip 1: Start with the end in mind and set a big goal.
Creative thinking comes from having a big goal. Whether that big goal is opening a second business location, publishing your first book, or just finally learning how to cook corn risotto, creativity is maximized if you pushing yourself to accomplish something that slightly scares and inspires you at the same time.
Put yourself out on a limb to push beyond your comfort zone.
Creativity Tip 2: Take time to get out of your normal environment and away from the daily grind.
Working ON yourself and ON your future is more important than staying busy in your daily grind. Don’t get caught in the trap of a full email inbox, a loud house full of teenagers or a hectic work environment. Make time away from your normal environment to meditate, journal, pray or just reflect to reignite your creative thinking.
Recently I read “a full email inbox as just a long list of other people’s problems.” Don’t let a long list of other people’s problems keep you from creating and achieving great things!
Creativity Tip 3: Get the opinions of those that are different from you.
Basically, what this means is get a fresh perspective. By opening up your heart, eyes and ears to others, you can grow creatively. Finding new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing and gaining new ideas and insights is important for growth. Immerse yourself in diverse learning opportunities and be open to seeing the world differently.
In summary, creative thinking isn’t just for artists. Creative thinking can help you achieve new levels of success. It’s just up to you take action and reignite your passion for life!