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3 Hard Truths About Building Your Online Influence

3 Hard Truths About Building Your Online Influence

There’s no better way to grow your business online than by growing your influence.

When you’ve built a strong online influence, it likely looks like you have a large online community who follows you. For instance, maybe you have a big email list or lots of Facebook followers or a popular blog or podcast or Youtube channel. (Or a combination of the above.)

And, of course when you have that, it’s so much easier to build a successful, profitable business.

But, having online influence is more than just collecting followers on the various social networks. It also means people are actually reading your words and listening to your message.

And, when that happens, it’s truly magic. Because then you’re in a position to share your gifts and message in a much bigger way.

And when you want to make a big difference in the world, who wouldn’t want to have an influence?

The problem, of course, is how … how do you do it? How do you grow your online influence (especially if you’re just starting out), and do it in a way that’s authentic and doesn’t feel slimy, or like you’re twisting people’s arms? (In other words, how can you do it in a love-based way?)

Well, while it’s not particularly complicated or difficult to develop and grow your online influence, it DOES take some work. And you also need to accept a few hard truths. Let’s take a look at three of them:

1. It’s an inside job. Learning the latest, hot new way to attract followers on whatever platform you’re focusing on isn’t actually going to build your influence.

If you want to inspire people to make positive changes in their life, then you need to be very clear on who YOU are—what your expertise is, what your business is about, who you serve, etc.

This inner work can be tough—I get it. But, the clearer you are, the more people will be able to decide if you’re someone they want to listen to, and become a part of your community.

The less clear you are, the more likely people will ignore you—not because they aren’t interested in what you have to say, but because they’re too busy to try and figure out if you’re someone they want to pay attention to.

2. Be authentic. People are savvy. They can sense if you’re walking your walk, or if you’re just telling people to do one thing while you do something else.

And, there’s nothing that has less influence than a hypocrite.

The more you and your business are in alignment with your message, the more influence you’re going to have.

At the bare minimum, it’s important to reflect what you offer in your business. So, if you’re in the health industry, make sure your health habits mirror what you teach. If you teach marketing, make sure your own marketing is in order.

But, you may want to look deeper. Are you someone who pays your team and other contractors on time? Do you believe in investing in yourself (since you’re asking others to invest in themselves through you)?

It may not seem like this would move the needle much, but it really does. If you believe in Law of Attraction, you know that the more you have your own act together, the more the Universe will deliver to you. But, even if you don’t, if affects how YOU are showing up. If you’re out of integrity, it likely will show up in YOUR energy, which people will sense even if they never say anything or are even completely aware of it. And that will affect how people see you, and their willingness to be in your community.

3. It’s going to take time. Ah, this one is tough. Building online influence isn’t going to happen overnight. It might not even happen in six months. Or a year.

People need time—time to get to know you. To see if they like what you’re about. To see if they resonate with your message. To see if they resonate with YOU.

To make things worse, all of this happens on THEIR time, not yours. You need to land some clients because you need money for next month? Tough. No one is going to be compelled to follow you (much less buy your products and programs) because you need the money.

There is no question this is a long-tailed marketing strategy, which by definition means it’s going to take time … BUT once it happens, it will start to take on a life of its own.

If you want to dig deeper into marketing your business, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book—you can get it here.

 

3 Keys to Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth Advertising (And 1 Bonus Tip to Help Skyrocket Your Results!)

3 Keys to Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth Advertising (And 1 Bonus Tip to Help Skyrocket Your Results!)

Raise your hand if you think word of mouth advertising (aka word of mouth marketing) is what you should be striving for as an entrepreneur/business owner.

It certainly feels like the most perfect form of marketing, doesn’t it? Your ideal clients, customers, and buyers just flow to you, without your having to make any effort at all, because your current happy clients are busy sending you referrals.

Alas, it’s not as simple as all of that (check out my 3 Myths about Word of Mouth Marketing That May Be Hurting Your Biz). BUT, it IS more under your control than you might imagine.

Below are three keys to harnessing the power of word of mouth advertising (and a bonus tip!)

1. Get crystal clear on your ideal client. Okay, so this one doesn’t seem terribly helpful at first glance. How is getting clear on your ideal client going to help other ideal clients start flocking to you?

Well, here’s a little secret about ideal clients—these are the clients who LOVE you and LOVE working with you (just like you LOVE working with them). Because they love you so much, they’re happy to sing your praises to the world. These are the clients who will happily share you with all their friends and associates.

These ideal, perfect clients are at the heart of your word of mouth advertising plan.

Now, contrast that with clients who aren’t ideal. These are the clients you struggle to work with, who you dread getting on the phone with. They also typically take 80% of your time (versus the ideal clients who take 20%).

Trust me when I say the feeling is mutual. They know you’re not ideal for them, either. They’re not feeling the love.

So, they are most definitely not going to tell the world about you. (And, if they did tell someone, it likely would not be a glowing review, but something far more tepid.)

(If you want to learn more about finding/getting super clear on your ideal client, here’s a post you can check out. You can also grab a copy of my Love-Based Copywriting Method book for even more on ideal clients.)

Bonus Tip: If you REALLY want to supercharge your word of mouth advertising plan, look for ideal clients who are also influencers.

Influencers are folks who already have a big following, and who will be happy to tell that following all about you. If that happens, you can get a big business boost that may last months or even years.

2. Become a master at your expertise. Again, this may sound like less-than-helpful advice, but think about it.

For people to rave about their experience with you, they need to actually have an experience worth raving about. Right?

So, the more you’ve mastered your expertise, the more likely it is you’ll be able to provide that amazing experience.

Your reputation matters. Nurture it. Focus on it. If people hear good things about you, they’ll be far more likely to invest in you.

3. Ask for referrals. Despite what you might believe, word of mouth advertising is not passive. It’s very much something you can control.

Actively pursue it. The best way to do that? You create a plan-of-action around asking for referrals.

Maybe you have a policy in place where you immediately reply back to a glowing client email, thanking him or her and asking his permission to use the email as a testimonial. This is a great time to also ask for referrals. Maybe you send an email to your client list asking if they know anyone who would be a good fit for your services, and if so, to please provide those people with your contact info. Or maybe you take it one step further and create a contest around it—give a prize, like an Amazon gift card or free coaching, to whoever sends you the most referrals.

It’s also a great idea to reward all referrals. Give a gift card, or a referral check. And let people know you value and appreciate them for helping you reach more people.

Lastly, keep in mind that as powerful as word of mouth advertising is, it’s just one piece of an overall marketing plan. If  you’d like help putting together a specific online marketing plan that’s unique to you and your business, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

5 Tips to Avoid Burnout by Infusing Your Business with Feminine Energy

5 Tips to Avoid Burnout by Infusing Your Business with Feminine Energy

When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get sucked into working all of the time and ignoring your feminine side until you hit burnout (or worse).

But, there are gifts feminine energy can bring to your business that can make you a more successful entrepreneur.

For instance, while traditional business models are rooted in goals and action and competition, feminine business models focus on creativity and empathy and receiving. (And yes, that includes receiving money!)

In order to avoid burnout and to enjoy the fruits of your hard work, you actually do need both masculine and feminine energy in your business.

Chances are, you’ve already got the masculine energy. In most cases, entrepreneurs start with goals and plans.

But, when you infuse your business with feminine energy, your ideas align with your purpose and you attract more of your ideal clients, you avoid burnout, you get clear on what your goals really are, and you receive all the rewards you deserve.

So. How do you begin bringing feminine energy into your business?

Here are five tips to get you started:

Tip 1. Stop and breathe.

Masculine energy is about moving forward toward your goals, preferably as quickly as possible. I’ve heard the phrase, “Money loves speed,” countless times—but I believe that it’s not healthy or smart to spend all your time in that fast energy. You’ll burn out. So every once in a while, take some time to just breathe. Check in with yourself and evaluate whether you’re going in the direction you want to.

Tip 2. Don’t push or force. Stay present and continually ask, “What’s needed now?”

If you feel like you Must. Make. Something. Happen. Now … through sheer force of will, then you’re not in the feminine. In fact, too much pushing and forcing is one of the leading causes of burnout. Instead of pushing, or doing the things you believe you “should” do, take a moment to revisit Tip One: Stop and breathe.

Which leads me to the next tip!

Tip 3. Listen to your inner wisdom, intuition, or guidance.

Many successful entrepreneurs know that trusting your gut is an important strength.

The truth is, though, that in many cases, we don’t hear it or trust it. That’s why it’s critical to take time to breathe, stop pushing, and really listen.

Over time, as you practice this skill, you’ll learn how to hear, trust, and act on what your inner voice is saying.

Tip 4. Strengthen your trust muscles.

This one can be tough! Trust that everything is going to work out, and that you will be supported even if you don’t get the results you wanted or expected. If you don’t trust that you’ll be taken care of and supported, then you’re prone to pushing or forcing things to happen. If you struggle with this one, here’s a …

Bonus Tip. Get a love line in place.

Find someone who can support and hold space for you when you start worrying that you won’t be taken care of (for example, that you won’t enroll the number of people you want to enroll in a program, or sell as many books as you’d like to). Your love line should be able to offer perspective, to help you reevaluate the situation from a place of trust.

Another way to look at this is to be committed to your results without being attached to how those results actually appear. For instance, maybe you don’t enroll as many people in your program that you wanted, but you end up with a couple of VIP clients that end up actually being more profitable than if you had simply filled your program. A love line can help remind you that things don’t always unfold the way we think they ought to unfold — but if we relax and trust, they may turn out better than we expected.

Tip 5. Learn to receive.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a conscious, heart-centered, spiritual entrepreneur. Which means you probably love giving. You feel comfortable giving.

But as we all know, sometimes it’s important to step outside your comfort zone.

In this case, it’s critical to receive. If we can’t receive, how can we receive in our business? Think about all the ways in which you must receive if your business is to be successful (and by “successful,” I mean, if it is to help you make that impact you’re so passionate about): you must receive new clients, new opportunities.

Of course, I’m also talking about receiving money and sales, too.

If this one sounds like a struggle, I completely understand. It was a struggle for me, too. It took me some time, and I started with baby steps—learning to accept simple compliments was the first one—and now I’m starting to see the results in my life and my business in terms of my ability to receive.

Since I began the journey of infusing my own business with feminine energy, I’ve experienced a huge decrease in overwhelm and stress—and I’ve also begun seeing better business results. I hope that if you begin infusing your business with feminine energy, you experience the same.

Meanwhile, if this topic resonated with you, you may be interested in my book, Love-Based Money and Mindset: Make the Money You Desire Without Selling Your Soul. It’s available at most online retailers, and you can get your own copy here.

4 Reasons Why It’s Critical to Infuse Masculine Business Models with Feminine Energy

4 Reasons Why It’s Critical to Infuse Masculine Business Models with Feminine Energy

As an entrepreneur/change agent, chances are you’ve set goals. Even if you’re a spiritual entrepreneur who believes in using feminine energy in other areas of your life, it’s likely in your business, you crave a more masculine approach and structure.

You’ve probably created some sort of plan for reaching your goals, and you believe you must take action (often, even hard-charging action) to achieve them.

If you’ve taken any business courses or read articles about growing your business, then you’ve seen it:

The masculine business model.

You see, traditionally, business models are rooted in masculine energy: they’re all about moving forward toward a goal, preferably as quickly as possible. Masculine energy contains, among others, the qualities of analytic thinking, competition, logic, and action.

It’s no wonder, then, that conventional business strategy emphasizes winning at all costs, and often focuses on numbers and measurable results: The Bottom Line.

Revenue plans, launch calendars, profit margins, action, action, action … you get the idea.

And all of those are important, of course, since you’re running a business and obviously, you have bills to pay.

The problem with this business model is that it can lead to burnout and overwhelm. If you’re constantly in overdrive, pushing for bigger results, faster, then it’s likely you’re stressed out much of the time. And even if your numbers look great, you don’t feel great. It’s difficult to enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’re exhausted.

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

Bring in the feminine.

Feminine energy is creative energy. It’s where you receive from. And it’s essential to enjoying your business.

It contains, among others, the qualities of intuition, compassion, emotion, creativity, empathy.

Masculine energy is where external structures come from, and feminine energy is where all the internal structures are built.

And in business, you need both: you need that structure and those plans. And you also need the space to create and receive.

You may be thinking, “This makes sense, Michele, but WHY?”

So here are four reasons why it’s important to infuse your masculine business model with feminine energy:

Reason 1. A balanced business model helps you grow your business. When your masculine business model serves as a structure for your feminine energy to create and receive, your ideas align with your spirit and purpose, and therefore, attract more of your ideal clients.

Reason 2. You avoid burnout. As I mentioned above, masculine energy is all about action! And action is important. But consistent action without breaks can lead to burnout. When you bring in feminine energy, you give yourself the time and space to create, to practice self-care strategies, and to nourish your soul—so you can receive the fruits of all that action.

Reason 3. You get clear on what your goals really are, and therefore, make more efficient use of your resources. Entrepreneurs with a tendency to get stuck in the masculine business model may go “full-steam ahead” without taking the time to feel into what their goals are, and whether those goals are ones they truly want to accomplish. Feminine energy is about intuition, and when you give yourself time and space to really hear your intuition, you can get clear on which goals are really important to you—before you rush headlong into achieving them.

Reason 4. You can receive all that you work so hard for. Look, for many of us—especially conscious, spiritual, or heart-centered entrepreneurs—receiving is hard. We’re much more comfortable in the space of giving. Here’s the thing: if you’re always in that space of giving and pushing, giving and pushing, you’re not taking the time or making the space to receive. Which means you’re not able to enjoy the abundance you’re working so hard to generate.

So now you know why it’s important to infuse your masculine business model with feminine energy, you probably want to know how to do so — this post gives you 5 tips to help get you started.

Meanwhile, if this topic resonated with you, you may be interested in my book, Love-Based Money and Mindset: Make the Money You Desire Without Selling Your Soul. It’s available at most online retailers, and you can get your own copy here, now.

 

Stuck? 3 Tips to Bust Though and Have a Business Breakthrough

Stuck? 3 Tips to Bust Though and Have a Business Breakthrough

As an entrepreneur, or more specifically, a spiritual entrepreneur or change agent, you may have experienced hitting the dreaded business plateau, (and then wondering what on earth you need to do to have a business breakthrough).

The business plateau occurs when you’re making progress in your business — you’ve achieved some level of success, and you’re focused on continuing your upward momentum.

And then, it hits you.

Or, rather, you hit it: a roadblock … also known as a plateau.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of this before. Plateaus occur in many areas of life: weight loss, exercise (like weight lifting or speed in running, swimming, or biking), or in productivity levels.

So it’s only natural that they occur in business, too.

There’s one thing all plateaus have in common: they’re frustrating!

As you probably realize by now, I’m a big believer in the impact your mindset has on your ability to create results.

So what I’m about to say will come as no surprise: breaking through a business plateau will happen ONLY when your mindset has laid a strong foundation for doing so.

With that being said, here are three tips for making a mindset shift that leads to a business breakthrough:

Tip 1. Determine whether you’re actually ready to experience a business breakthrough … to get off the plateau, and take things to the next level.

If you’ve hit an external roadblock or plateau, for example, you can’t seem to push beyond a certain number of clients or income level, then chances are, you’ve hit an inner block, too.

An inner block is like a psychological wall that stops you from taking the action that will move you past a certain point.

It may be fear-related: fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not having enough, fear of getting out there and being seen, etc. Or it may be a belief or set of beliefs related to your feelings about success: for instance, successful people are jerks, rich people are arrogant.

Even if you’ve been successful up to this point, as you stretch your limits and set new goals for yourself, new blocks will come up.

So how do you know if you’re experiencing a block?

If you haven’t done any self-development work, you probably do have a block or two. We all do—many of us have experiences as children or even young adults that instill these fears or belief systems deep within us.

Here’s a quick and easy exercise for exploring your own plateau-causing fears and belief systems:

Grab a pen and a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle, forming two columns. In the first column, write down all the reasons you want to break through the plateau. In the second, write down all the reasons you don’t want to break through or all the ways those blocks are serving you. (Yes, some stuff will come to the surface for that second column if you take this exercise seriously!)

The items you write down in the second column will give you an idea as to which fears or belief systems you need to work through to move past this plateau.

Take some time to think about the emotions associated with the items in the second column.

Next, start moving the energy out of these emotions.

I’m going to share one powerful exercise for doing so here, and you can read about several more in my book, Love-Based Money and Mindset: Make the Money You Desire Without Selling Your Soul.

Breathing is one of the most powerful exercises for releasing fear-based emotions. Yes, I used to roll my eyes at the “stop and breathe” advice, but now it’s become my go-to tool for getting past fear in many different situations.

The trick: you must feel your feelings.

When uncomfortable thoughts come up, just stop.

Rather than going with your first reaction and changing the subject, mentally, or calling a friend to talk about these feelings, stop everything.

Close your eyes and breathe into the feelings associated with the thoughts.

Maybe you feel emotions in your gut, like I do. Or maybe you feel them in your chest. Focus on that area and breathe into it. This takes practice! But I promise it will help you move past the blocks that are stopping you from reaching that next level.

Tip 2. Determine what you need to do to grow.

You’ve undoubtedly heard this analogy before, and that’s because it’s a good one. If you were planning to leave your house and drive to another city in another state—somewhere you’d never been—you’d need to get directions, right?

These days, most of us just type our destination’s address into our smartphone and hit “Get Directions.”

Then an app, like Google Maps, for example, gives us turn-by-turn directions.

Now let’s apply this analogy to your business.

If you’ve hit a plateau, then your desired destination if you want to have a business breakthrough is the Next Level, right? Well, do you know what you need to do to get to the Next Level? Which turns you need to make?

In our analogy, the “directions” would be the specific business strategies you’d use. “Turn left” may equate to, “Launch a new product.”

So how does this tie into mindset?

It’s all about preparation and planning. If you are attempting to reach a goal without a plan, then you’re not in the right mental space to get there. It’s like setting out for a destination to which you’ve never been without getting directions first.

Here’s an exercise you can use to figure out what you need to do to have a business breakthrough:

First, determine what the “Next Level” means to you.

Does it mean earning a certain amount of income? Does it mean landing a certain number of clients, or working a certain number of days each week or month?

Once you’re clear on that, consider the strategies that will get you there.

For example, if your goal is to get more clients, you may need a new lead generation system. If your goal is to earn more money and have more free time, creating a home study program may be a good avenue for reaching that goal.

Then, create a written plan with daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly steps for reaching your goal.

Tip 3. Stick with it. Push yourself just a bit further, past that tipping point.

If you feel like you’re on the brink of something big, then you just might be!

You may not be experiencing a mental block … you may be just one final push from having that business breakthrough and reaching the Next Level.

If you know you’re doing what you need to do, and you haven’t yet broken through your plateau, then don’t give up!

This advice may be a bit frustrating, because as a goal-driven entrepreneur, you likely feel like if you could just take action, just push this through, you could get there.

And this is where mindset comes in: when you’re taking all the right actions, and you have all the right pieces in place, then sometimes you just have to open yourself to receive.

So, are you ready to break through a plateau?

Follow the advice above, and you’ll be on the right track.

If this topic resonated with you, you may be interested in my book, Love-Based Money and Mindset: Make the Money You Desire Without Selling Your Soul. It’s available at most online retailers, and you can get your own copy here.