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[Checklist] Goal Setting Made Easy

[Checklist] Goal Setting Made Easy

For a good chunk of my life, I struggled with goal setting.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I was taught that hard work was not only valued, but the key to success. So, when I started my business as an adult, I WANTED to be so busy I was working nights and weekends.

After all, if I was working long hours, that meant that I was “successful.” Right?

(It took years and multiple burnouts to finally force me to shift that thinking.)

But sacrificing my mental and physical health was just the tip of the damage that mindset caused me. My workaholic tendency combined with my “Type A” personality also kept me constantly feeling like I wasn’t doing “enough,” no matter how many goals I checked off my list.

And, of course in the meantime, I did have big dreams and goals I wasn’t making any progress toward at all (specifically, my fiction writing goals), so I also believed I clearly had a problem with goal setting. (Actually, my secret shame was my belief that what was really hindering me was procrastination and lack of focus.)

So, I did what any workaholic, Type A personality would do when feeling stuck:

I became obsessed with goal setting.

I researched and tried many goal setting and time management systems. Nothing really worked.

I also tried relying on sheer willpower—pushing myself to get more done (which was also not successful).

So what was it that finally shifted goal setting for me?

Digging more deeply into my love-based philosophy, and realizing my goal setting was built on a foundation of fear.

What does that mean, exactly? And if your goal setting method is also built on a foundation of fear, how can you switch it to a foundation of love, instead?

That’s exactly what I’m going to walk you through in this Goal Setting Checklist.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

Goal Setting Step 1: Get Clear. What Are Love-Based Goals Anyway?

To me, love-based goals are whispers from your soul.

Your soul wants you to step into the highest version of yourself. But, your soul also know that’s not easy. It requires you to face your demons and love your shadows.

So, as you do that work, your soul whispers your love-based goals to you. And as you become that highest version of yourself, your “reward” is that those goals can finally come true.

In other words, your love-based goals can only come true if you start to shift into the highest, best version of yourself.

Your soul wants to keep you on track toward achieving your love-based goals, so you can live your best, happiest life.

Goal Setting Step 2: Identify Your Love-Based Goals

How do you know if you have love-based goals, or “regular” goals?

One big indication of a love-based goal is if you have a big dream you’ve been talking about your entire life, yet somehow, you’ve never gotten any traction toward realizing it.

Now, it’s possible that big dream is not a love-based goal, but what I call a “should” goal. A “should” goal is a goal you feel like you “should” be working on, but it doesn’t actually reflect your deepest desires.

How can you tell the difference? I recommend doing some journaling around your perfect day. (No, I’m not talking about a vacation day here, but a perfect work day.) What are you actually DOING during your perfect work day? How is your day structured? Where are you living? Who is around you?

While you’re doing this exercise, take note of how you’re feeling. Are you getting excited? Are you tapping into your passion? Or does it feel like you’re still doing something you “have to,” or maybe even dread?

This exercise is a great way to differentiate between love-based and “should” goals.

Goal Setting Step 3: Be Prepared for What Can Stop You.

If you’ve designed your life around “should” goals, it’s probably not difficult to understand why you haven’t gotten any traction on them. But, what about your love-based goals? Why haven’t they come true?

Typically, there’s something going on either internally or externally.

If it’s an external problem, it’s usually around not having found the right goal setting system for you.

In my “Love-Based Goals” book, I dig into a variety of goal-setting methods, to give you options so you can find one that feels right for you. It’s also pretty easy to do your own research, with a little help from your favorite search engine.

If it’s an internal problem (which I suspect is the real culprit, more often than not), well, that’s a little trickier.

Generally speaking, if something is going on internally, it’s directly related to blocks in your mindset or subconscious. Maybe you find yourself procrastinating every time you sit down to work on your goals. Or maybe you lack focus. Or maybe you can never find the time.

Or maybe you find yourself constantly feeling worry or resentment or anger or sadness or jealously or guilt every time you sit down to work on your goals.

And, because you feel so crappy, it can’t possibly be a good goal, right? It must be a sign you shouldn’t be working toward that dream.

Alas, our fear-based emotions stop us more often than not. We feel crappy, which not only makes it difficult to do the work, but since we want to stop feeling that way, we’re compelled to take actions that help us numb or stuff down our uncomfortable feelings. (For instance, maybe we want to take a drink or make poor eating choices or numb out on television or start a fight—these are all actions we take to distract ourselves from feeling our fear-based emotions.)

If you relate, my recommendation is that the next time you’re working on your big dream and you find yourself feeling bad, let yourself feel the emotion AND don’t let it stop you from continuing to take action. (I talk about how I did this myself when I had my big 2017 marketing success story here.)

Goal Setting Step 4: Set Yourself up for Success.

While feeling your fear-based emotions and still taking action is never going to be easy, there are things you can do to increase your odds of being successful.

• Start and maintain a morning practice (so rather than check email, start your day with self-care practices such as meditation or journaling).

• Use rituals, such as a New Year’s Day ritual to help you create a supportive container around making your goals come true.

• Create new, empowering habits that support your love-based goals and the person you’re becoming. (And, on the flip side, let go of old, toxic habits that are keeping you trapped in the “old” you.)

• Give yourself a break! None of this is easy. Give yourself the time and space you need to let your emotions move through you. Drink plenty of water, exercise, rest. And, above all, don’t beat yourself up if it’s not happening “fast enough.” Chances are, it’s happening plenty fast enough and surrounding to the process and allowing it to unfold the way it wants to is the best gift you can give yourself.

If you’d like to dig more into making your love-based goals come true, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Goals” book. Grab your copy here.

 

[Video] Flip It! How Do You Pick Yourself Up After You Fail?

[Video] Flip It! How Do You Pick Yourself Up After You Fail?

Let me start by busting a myth: If you’re successful at anything, you’ve also experienced a fail or two.

And, likely, a lot more than one or two.

I’m not sure it’s possible to BE successful without also experiencing failure. Because, if you’re not out there and trying new things and testing out new ideas and concepts while knowing you may fail, it’s difficult to BE a success.

Projects you thought would be a big hit … aren’t. Or they take longer than you planned to catch on. Or maybe they WERE a huge success, and then one day they stopped selling.

Launches crash and burn. Marketing strategies that once worked stop.

I could go on and on. And, these are just entrepreneurial examples. There’s also countless examples if you want to be an author or artist or scientist or inventor, or even climb the corporate ladder.

Thomas Edison experienced over 10,000 failures (which he didn’t call “failures”) before he figured out how to make a light bulb work.

So, I suspect you already know this. It’s not a secret.

But, I also bet you forgot.

Because, unless the fall from grace is really public, you don’t see it. A lot of failures happen behind closed doors. A product doesn’t sell as well as hoped — is that truly something most people are going to see? Probably not. It didn’t sell well so how would anyone outside the business know?

I start here because I’m beginning to believe one of the key attributes all successful people share is their ability to bounce back after they fail.

Because failure is going to happen if you want to become a success. And, the more successful you want to become, the more failure you’ll likely experience.

Now, my take on picking yourself back up after you’ve fallen is maybe a little different than what you heard. You see, I think the first thing you need to do is feel all those crappy feelings.

Yes, feel the anger, the disappointment, the resentment, the jealously, the envy, the shame, the embarrassment, the grief. Stomp your feet. Hit a pillow. Cry.

Do whatever you need to do to move that energy from your body.

Because that’s the only way you’ll be able to stop feeling those feelings.

Feelings just want to be felt. And, if you don’t feel them, they’ll keep following you around, harassing you, until you do.

So, how on earth will you be able to pick yourself up if you’re still stewing? How are you possibly going to focus on taking action to get yourself back on track when you’re still battling rage or grief or wanting to shrink into yourself and hide under your bed?

The answer — you can’t!

That’s why so many people CAN’T pick themselves back up. They may tell themselves they need to beat this, and they have to get back on their horse and all the other rah-rah inspirational motivational messages.

But, it’s just talk. If they feel like crap, it’s going to be tough to take action. Not only because you don’t feel like doing anything when your emotions are out of control, but trying to keep yourself from feeling your emotions is a lot of work, so you’re likely going to be more exhausted than normal.

So, before you do anything, before you get that plan together to beat this thing, let yourself just feel as crappy as you want to. Go ahead, let it all out. Have a big ole pity party for yourself.

And, when all of those emotions have been felt and have moved through you, you may be amazed at how easier everything looks.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

[Video] Flip It! Why Becoming an Overnight Success May be the WORST Thing to Happen to You

[Video] Flip It! Why Becoming an Overnight Success May be the WORST Thing to Happen to You

I get it. I, too, have dreamed about becoming an overnight success. Still do, in fact.

But, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to believe that NOT becoming an overnight success may be the best thing to happen to you.

To illustrate, let me start with a story.

Over twenty years ago, a freelance writer wrote a book called Simple Abundance. This book ended up catching fire. Oprah had the author on her show a few times, the book was on the New York Times bestselling list for over two years, and by the time all was said and done, the author ended up selling over 7 million copies (5 million in the US and 2 million oversees).

Fast forward to today. While you might have heard of the book Simple Abundance, you likely haven’t heard of any of the author’s other titles. You might not know that she ended up losing all the money she made from Simple Abundance, and even declared bankruptcy.

She’s far from the only one. How many singers in the 80s had a massive hit, only to sink into oblivion? It was so common we even had a name for it: One-hit wonders.

How about people who win the lottery only to lose everything they won (and more) a few years later?

What do all of these stories have in common?

In my opinion? Success happened too fast for them.

Too fast? How can that be?

You see, every time you reach a big milestone, maybe it’s breaking the 6-figure mark or quitting your job to start your business or finally publishing your book, something shifts inside you.

The bigger the milestone, the bigger the shift.

And, if we’re not emotionally ready to accept the shift, we’ll unconsciously sabotage ourselves. Hence all the one-hit wonders.

Gay Hendricks has a name for it in his book, The Big Leap. He calls it an “upper limit problem.” We all have unconscious limits to how much success or happiness or money or joy we can accept. When we get more than what we can tolerate, we do things to bring ourselves down. That’s why after a particularly close moment with our spouse, we may start a fight or after we experience a big windfall of money, an equally big expense rolls in.

It takes both time and work to raise our upper limits and expand our capacity to receive. Which is why the journey to success is just as important as the success itself. What we end up learning on that journey is what helps us mentally and emotionally accept our success when good fortune does decide to smile down on us.

Look, I get how difficult and discouraging and frustrating the process can be. Waking up every morning and taking action even when you’re not seeing results yet, and worse, not having ANY idea when or IF you’ll see results is tough.

But, here’s the thing. The discipline and perseverance you develop during that process will serve you well when success finally does comes knocking on your door.

(And yes, it WILL come — maybe not how you thought it would arrive or when, but it will come.)

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

[Video] Flip It! Is Who You Are Getting In the Way of Your Big Dream?

[Video] Flip It! Is Who You Are Getting In the Way of Your Big Dream?

It may not be your fault you haven’t accomplished your big dream.

The problem may be who you believe you are.

Let me explain. You may have heard the famous saying, often attributed to Henry Ford, Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right.

I would take that a step further and say who you BELIEVE you are, determines what you can do or can’t do.

For instance, do you say make these sorts of statements to yourself?

“I’m no good at math.” “I’m a great cook.” “I’ll never be successful.” “I’ve never been lucky.”

Take a good look at those statements. What’s one thing they all have common?

They all start with a to be verb — a version of I am.

Take a moment to let that sink in. How many times a day do you say you ARE something, whether it’s a good thing like I’m a great cook or a negative thing like I’m horrible at math?

Either way, you’re defining your accomplishments by who you believe you are.

If you believe you’ll be successful at what you set out to do, then you’ll be successful.

If you believe your parents were right and you’ll never amount to anything, you’ll never amount to anything.

But, there’s even a deeper level.

Let’s say you’ve always had a dream of owning your own business, but you’ve never taken any action toward that dream. It may be because you see yourself as a wanna be business owner rather than an actual business owner.

Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a published author, but you’ve never been able to find the time to write. You may see yourself as a wanna be author.

Mark Manson in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life talks about if you somehow never seem to make any strives toward your goals, you may see yourself as someone who is forever wanting to accomplish the goal but never actually does it.

For myself, what I call love-based goals are goals that are actually whispers from your soul. These are goals that for them to come true, YOU need to transform yourself into the person your soul is calling you to be.

Simple, right? But, how do you do it? How do you change who you believe you are so you can accomplish your goals and dreams?

Start by simply observing what your inner voice or inner critic, is saying to you. You may even want to write down what that inner voice is blathering on and on about so you can really analyze it.

Chances are, you’ll find your inner voice saying some sort of version of I am, such as: I’ll never be successful or someday I’ll write my book.

So, the first thing to do is to change what you’re saying to yourself, so say I am successful or I am writing my book.

Now, if you’re not successful or you’re not writing your book, your brain is going to call BS. That’s okay. What I’m aiming for here is to see what emotions start to come up for you. Is it fear? Grief? Resentment? Anger? A combination of emotions? Something else?

I don’t want you to do anything except pause and breathe and feel those emotions.

Those emotions are what’s standing in your way of changing who you are so you can accomplish your big dream.

And, once those emotions aren’t clouding up your judgement, it will be much easier for you to see a path toward making your goals come true.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

The Future of Copywriting: 5 Copywriting Trends to Watch For

The Future of Copywriting: 5 Copywriting Trends to Watch For

I’m back with my crystal ball (aka angel snow globe) with a few predictions on copywriting trends to watch for in the wacky world of copywriting over the coming year.

But, before I dig into those copywriting trends, let’s define what copywriting is.

Copywriting is writing promotional materials for businesses, nothing to do with protecting intellectual property or putting a copyright on something (notice the difference in spelling).

My specialty is a subset called “direct response copywriting,” which entails crafting copy that your ideal prospects directly respond to. For example, when you write an email asking your community to click on a link, you’re writing direct response copy. Those long sales letters you’re scrolling down forever, all-the-while asking yourself, “How much does this actually cost?” and wondering if anyone actually ever reads those things anyway … yep. That’s direct response.

(And by the way, the short answer is yes—people read them.)

The Internet is littered with direct response copy, mainly because it’s a fabulous way to leverage yourself and your marketing efforts, especially when you’re using the Internet to market yourself. Direct response copy does the selling for you, so you can market and sell yourself one to many.

But, as much good as it does, people still hate it. That’s partially because traditional direct response copy uses a lot of fear-based triggers (which doesn’t feel very good). It’s also because a lot of people just hate writing, and would rather not do it at all. (It’s okay if this is you, we’re all friends here.)

Needless to say, there’s a lot of misinformation around the future of copy, so I thought I’d take a moment to sort out the facts from the fiction—and what better way to do that than by talking about five copywriting trends I see happening now?

Without further ado, let’s dig into those copywriting trends.

Trend 1. Copywriting isn’t going away (and yes, that includes writing email copy). Yep, I hear those proclamations too: “Email is dead. Facebook is the place to be. No, maybe it’s videos. Or podcasts. Or …”

So, first off, nothing beats building your own sandbox versus playing in other people’s sandboxes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using Facebook and Youtube—you absolutely should have a presence on any platform your ideal prospects are on.

You just shouldn’t build your entire business on them.

An excellent way to market and build your business is to spend time in the places your ideal clients are hanging out, with the intent to inspire them to join you in your sandbox.

Ideally you’d love for them to join your email list, so you have permission to reach out when the timing is right for you. But, even if they regularly visit your blog or have subscribed to your podcast, that’s a step in the right direction, too.

And, for any of that to happen, it’s important to have harnessed the power of copy in your marketing. No, that doesn’t mean YOU need to do all the writing yourself—hiring it out is perfectly acceptable. But, you need to come to terms with the fact that as long as you own a business, you’re going to be generating copy (and likely a lot of it).

And that leads us to the second of the five copywriting trends.

Trend 2. Connecting with your ideal clients is key to future success. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when you could generate an awful lot of money simply by harnessing the power of “new” in your marketing.

That time has come and gone (and frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as I would argue very few entrepreneurs who had mastered the power of “new” actually had a solid, sustainable business.)

So, if you can’t use “new” to attract customers, clients and buyers, what can you do?

Easy. Focus on connecting and building relationships with your prospects. (And, if you are looking to attract more ideal clients to your business, connecting and building relationships is hands down the best strategy to use).

Copy is one of the best ways to connect and build relationships, especially when you use it in an email. (Emails are one-to-one medium: people are getting emails in their inbox, so by it’s very nature, it’s a personal connection. It’s just a matter of you remembering that, when you craft emails to your subscribers.)

But, this is just the first step to building more rapport with your ideal prospects.

Trend 3. Focus on giving your prospects exactly what they want. And I guarantee what they want is plenty of content, and maybe even to be entertained.

What they DON’T want? To be sold to constantly.

That’s why so many entrepreneurs have email lists that are, for all practical purposes, dead. They’ve sold to them so much that their prospects have stopped interacting with them.

(Note: Constantly sending your subscribers to other people’s “free” launch content, such as free books or videos or webinars, constitutes selling. Yes, yes, I know the content is usually pretty solid. But, it’s still designed to sell a program, likely a high-ticket item, and anyone who says “yes” to that free content WILL get inundated with emails for a few weeks. Your subscribers know this, and are tuning it out. I’m not saying not to promote other people’s launches or to stop doing your own; I absolutely still believe product launches are an important tool in your marketing toolbox. However, what I AM saying is to count those emails toward your “total sales emails” quota. You only have so many sales emails you can send to your list before they stop paying attention, so choose wisely.)

Your subscribers don’t mind some sales emails, but it’s important to balance those sales emails with what they’re really looking for, which is most likely content and entertainment.

But, there’s an even bigger prediction on the horizon (a.k.a. the fourth of five copywriting trends)…

Trend 4. Segmenting is the future. While this is a more advanced tactic, having a way to segment your subscribers and allow THEM to decide what sort of content and communication they want from you is going to become more and more important.

I’ve seen stats showing far better results when emails are tailored to your subscribers based on their answers to a few questions you ask them.

So, how do you do this? Some email programs, such as Infusion Soft (although there are cheaper email software programs that are coming out now that are offering these options) allow you to “tag” your subscribers depending on if they click a link, or how they answer a question. You can then send an email to just the people who were tagged.

For instance, maybe you send out an email asking, “If you’re brand new to business, click here,” you can then “tag” everyone who clicks on that link. Now you have a segmented list of new entrepreneurs, and you can send them content and offers that are tailored specifically to them.

See how powerful that can be?

It’s always been the case that the more you can speak directly to your ideal prospects concerns and what’s keeping them up at night, the more they’ll buy from you. Until the Internet, it was far more complicated to give them tailored offers.

Of course, this is a bit of a catch-22. Now that it is easier, it’s likely your ideal prospects will be expecting it more. Which means if you’re NOT segmenting, you could be losing potential clients, customers and buyers.

But, there’s still one last of the 5 copywriting trends that will also be important when it comes to writing copy.

Trend 5. Use passion, vulnerability, and stories in your copy. Remember, people want to do business with people. And, you connecting and building relationships with your ideal prospects is going to be even more important now, as it truly is one of the top trends in marketing and business.

One key way to connect with them using copy is to do things like tap into your passion, and show your personality. Reveal your vulnerabilities and share stories in your copy.

As humans, we’re wired to respond to stories. So, the more we can use stories in our marketing, the more our ideal prospects will pay attention to us. And, if they’re paying attention, they’re far more likely to become buyers, customers, and clients.

I know it can feel strange to use stories and share your vulnerabilities (business IS supposed to be professional after all, and if you came from corporate, it can feel even more alien), but sharing something you’re vulnerable about can go a long way in making you far more relatable.

And, now, for a last, bonus prediction (because 6 copywriting trends didn’t sound nearly as sexy as five).

Bonus Trend 6. Fear-based copy that focuses on shaming and scarcity is on its way out, and love-based copy is the new black. So, as the founder of the love-based copy philosophy and the love-based business movement, I get that this might seem more than a little self-serving.

It’s also not completely true.

Yet.

While fear-based copy and marketing DOES still work, it’s definitely not working as well as it used to. I do believe it’s on its way out, and selling and marketing yourself with love is on its way in, but we’re not quite there yet.

As a species, we still psychologically respond to fear-based triggers. The more we do the inner work and shift to building our businesses and living our lives on a foundation of love, the less fear-based triggers will work.

And, if you want to dig into love-based copy at an even deeper level, you may want to check out my books: Love-Based Copywriting Method: The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites and Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites.

 

[Video] Flip It! Why Aren’t My Goals Coming True?

[Video] Flip It! Why Aren’t My Goals Coming True?

Has this ever happened to you?

You have a big goal. Maybe you want to start a business or grow a business. Maybe you want to hit a certain income goal. Or maybe you’re finally ready to start writing your book.

So, you start taking action toward that goals.

But … something funny happens.

All these fears start coming up. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I spend all of my time working? What if my partner leaves me? What if my kids start to hate me?

Maybe you stop being able to sleep because of all of these worries.

Or, maybe you’re angry all of the time.

Or, maybe you waste hours and hours stewing about how everyone else seems to be further on their journey than you.

So, you find yourself procrastinating or losing focus. Or, maybe you simply can never find the time to work on them.

You’re busy, right? There’s always something more important or urgent to work on.

Right?

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many, many people are unable to take even the smallest action towards their goals and dreams.

They have lots of reasons why. Some of those reasons are even pretty good. They don’t have the time or the money or they’re too old or it’s just not the right time. They can pursue their dreams when the kids go back to school or once their mom isn’t sick anymore or after they retire.

But, here’s the thing. Whatever you telling yourself right now, ISN’T what’s actually stopping you.

I’m not saying that reason isn’t true. I’m saying it’s NOT what’s stopping you.

I don’t care how busy you are, if you’re serious about your dreams, you can find 15 minutes a day to work on them. (And, trust me, you can do a lot in 15 minutes. I wrote 3 books in only 15 minutes day.)

So, if it’s not your excuses, then what’s stopping you?

Simple. Your fear-based emotions.

You see, all emotions fall under either love or fear. Fear-based emotions include fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, grief.

For most of us, we don’t want to feel our fear-based emotions (for obvious reasons). But, just because we don’t want to feel them doesn’t mean they don’t want to be felt.

It also doesn’t mean they won’t keep chasing you until you actually take the time you feel them.

But, there’s good news. Once you feel them, they move on.

(Yes, it really can be that simple. No, it’s not easy to feel your fear-based emotions, but it IS simple. All it requires is you pause, breathe and feel. Not react. Not DO anything about those emotions. Just be with them.)

So, if you see yourself here, I’d love to encourage you to try something different. The next time you’re taking action on your goals and some fear-based emotion starts to raise its ugly head (whether it be worry or resentment or anger or grief or shame or guilt or something else) rather than DO something about that emotion (including make up a story around why its happening) just STOP.

Stop, breathe and feel.

Then, once it’s moved through you, go back to working on your goals.

You may be amazed at the magic you create in your life or business.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book — you can check it out here.

The Future of Internet Marketing—5 Trends to Watch

The Future of Internet Marketing—5 Trends to Watch

Internet marketing has taken a beating these past couple of years. Strategies that used to work aren’t working so well anymore.

In my opinion, I think what we’re seeing is the end of the using “new” as the primary marketing strategy.

BUT just because we aren’t relying solely on “new” doesn’t mean Internet marketing is dead. Not by a long shot.

What it DOES mean, however, is that we need to get smarter about our Internet marketing strategies.

Gone are the days where we could just throw something up and expect to get results. The internet is way too crowded for that to work anymore. So, we need to be more strategic about how we spend our marketing time and budget. (And, quite honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.)

With that, let’s jump into the five big Internet marketing trends to watch:

Trend 1. Content is still king. Everything I see still shows that consistently creating solid, high-quality content is one of the best ways to market yourself and your business.

The key here is the content needs to be high quality AND consistent.

Yes, years ago you could post a few times a year to a blog and get some traction. That’s no longer the case.

Taking the time to create solid content your ideal prospects are excited to consume AND doing it consistently is how you build momentum in your business.

Now, that said, when I say “creating content,” I’m not just talking about writing blog posts. Podcasts are still hot (and, in fact, are growing—you may seriously want to consider a podcast if you aren’t doing one) and videos are also still hot (although there’s been some shifts and softening in YouTube, a subject for another day, but using videos in your marketing is still a winning strategy).

If you’re a designer, infographics are also still hot, as are photos and other graphics.

People are still interested, and are still seeking, content. But, they’re definitely more particular about the content they’re consuming, so it’s smart to take a little extra time to make sure what you’re putting out there is as strong as you can make it.

(And, if you can be entertaining while providing content, that’s even better. Along with looking for content, people are also looking to be entertained. Combing the two is always a win-win.)

Trend 2. Content alone isn’t enough—you have to market it. As anyone who has a blog already knows, just because you have one, doesn’t mean people will come.

You still need to have a consistent strategy to market that content.

Posting on social networking platforms is a must. You may also want to consider paying for exposure via Facebook ads or other forms of pay-per-click (more on this later). Setting up your blog for SEO or organic traffic is also not a bad idea (although keep in mind this is most definitely a long-term strategy. SEO used to be a lot easier than it is today, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, only that you should be aware it’s a long game).

You can also look into using other platforms such as Medium to help increase your reach. (But, I would caution you to still have your own blog and website and web presence rather than build everything on an outside platform you don’t control. Playing in other people’s sandboxes is well and good until they take their toys and go home, leaving you stuck and vulnerable.)

Trend 3. Relationships are still queen. People want to do business with people. They want to connect with people.

In other words, they want to connect with YOU.

So, why not give them what they want?

Be accessible. Give your ideal clients a way to connect with you on Facebook or other social networking platforms. Respond to their comments. Answer their questions.

And, show your personality in your marketing. Share your stories, your passion, your vulnerabilities. Let your ideal clients see you as a person … a person they like and want to hang out with.

They’re far more likely to buy your products and services if they feel connected to you.

Trend 4. Pay to play is here to stay. Having a small advertising budget, whether it’s Facebook ads or some other type of online ads, is a smart idea.

Yes, I know on one hand, it sucks. Years ago, you didn’t need an advertising budget to break through the online clutter. On the other hand, the fact that it is more difficult to market yourself without an advertising budget means only more serious and professional business owners and entrepreneurs are rising to the top. The scammers and people who are less ethical about their marketing are less likely to invest in advertising, which means they won’t be grabbing all the oxygen, which leaves more space for the more ethical and love-based marketer.

Trend 5. Simple trumps complex. I don’t believe that successfully marketing yourself needs to be all that complex. In fact, focusing on only one main marketing strategy, such as a podcast or videos, can go a long way.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when it seemed complex was the way to go. Complex funnels, complex product launches. The more complicated the better.

But, quite honestly, I feel like all the complexity was doing was hiding what prospects really wanted—good, solid content. A connection with the business owner. And, as a bonus, maybe even some entertainment.

If you simplify and just focus on those key foundational pieces, you may be shocked at how far it can take your business.

In addition to keeping it simple, I do believe the more you love your marketing, the more successful you’ll be at it. You can never go wrong the more you surround yourself with regular activities you love to do.

And, if you want to learn more about how you can fall in love with your Internet marketing strategies, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book available at most online retailers.

[Video] Flip It! Are New Year Rituals a Waste of Time?

[Video] Flip It! Are New Year Rituals a Waste of Time?

The first time I heard about New Year rituals (actually it was more of a year-end ritual because it took place over Winter Solstice) I was intrigued.

But I also felt like it would be a waste of time.

Could rituals, any ritual, but especially New Year rituals, help me make my goals come true?

Well, as I had been spinning my wheels for years and never getting any traction or momentum around my goals, I thought I’d give it a shot.

And, I’ve been hooked ever since.

Part of the reason why I’m hooked is because what I did before was so … unsatisfying. Maybe you can relate?

I would spend that quiet time between Christmas and New Years feeling like a loser for everything I didn’t accomplish the year before. I would then take a break from beating myself up to create a long laundry list of new goals for the upcoming year. I would then move to feeling overwhelmed over everything I wanted to accomplish over the next twelve months.

Clearly, this wasn’t an ideal way to begin the new year. And, needless to say, all my good intentions would have disappeared by the end of January and my days yet again would be determined by everyone else’s priorities.

This all started to shift when I began using New Year Rituals.

My friend and spiritual mentor Christine Arylo taught me this ritual, which would take place during Winter Solstice.  It’s a natural time to pause, reflect and close the circle on the previous year as it’s when nature shifts and instead of our days growing darker, they grow lighter.

In a nutshell, we would take a moment to celebrate all that went right, process everything that went wrong and choose the lessons you want to take into the New Year.

So, why do you want to do all of that?

For precisely that reason — because we so often DON’T.

How many times do we rush right past a big win because we’ve got so many other things on our to-do lists? How many time do we bury our failures, maybe even refusing to call it a failure but give it some other name to try and keep ourselves from feeling bad about it?

If we don’t take the time to celebrate our successes, it’s like they didn’t even happen. Just like if we don’t take the time to feel the emotions of the failures, we’re dooming ourselves to keep repeating those failures until we feel the feelings and learn the lessons.

If you’ve ever wondered why one year seems to be exactly like the next, despite all your best intentions otherwise, this could be one of the reasons. You never took the time to pause, reflect and properly close the energy of the past year.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book — you can check it out here.

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Yes, the product launch is dead.

No, it isn’t.

It depends.

(Way to be decisive Michele!)

Before I dig in, I want to start by defining “product launch.”

Product launches aren’t new. Businesses have been crafting campaigns to launch a new product or program or service for as long as they’ve been creating new offerings. Turning the unveiling of a new product into an event is a pretty standard business and marketing strategy.

However, with the arrival of the Internet, and thanks to a man by the name of Jeff Walker, the product launch now has a completely different meaning.

Walker has crafted a specific formula called PLF, or Product Launch Formula, that has made thousands of entrepreneurs thousands (if not millions) of dollars.

The formula typically consists of dripping content out (three 20-30 minute videos is pretty common) which leads to opening the cart (or offering the product for sale) for a short period of time. Typically, during the time the cart is open, more content is dripped via webinars or livestreams or coach-a-thons.

Now, just because you decide to launch a product doesn’t mean you have to have all those bells and whistles. There are plenty of simplified launches that consist of a webinar or a livestream that leads to an offer.

Or maybe there’s an “in between” that would work for you. Really, the variations of how you structure a product launch are endless.

However, when we’re talking about launches that generate multiple six or seven figures, you typically need to create more launch content than a single webinar, which is why the Product Launch Formula has been so successful.

Until recently, that is.

Over the past couple of years, the big, elaborate project launch has lost a bit of its luster. Many entrepreneurs who had relied on them for years as a major part of their business income began experiencing dwindling returns.

So IS this the end of the product launch? Or is something else afoot?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Scenario 1: Yes, product launches are dead.

Once upon a time, it wasn’t uncommon for entrepreneurs to build their entire businesses around the product launch.

They would have one (maybe two) launches a year, and earn enough income during that frenzied period of time to sustain them the rest of the year.

For those entrepreneurs, life was fabulous. Sure, they had to work hard during the launch, but launch windows are deliberately short (a few weeks at most) and the rest of the year they could spend posting selfies of themselves hanging out at the beach on Facebook.

Alas, that golden time of product launches appears to have come to a crashing halt.

Now, before you start posting comments or writing me emails letting me know about all the entrepreneurs who are still doing this successfully, let me just say that yes, I’m sure that’s true.

BUT, I will contend they are more the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

The overall trend is that one or two product launches can’t sustain a business for a year anymore.

This is partly because product launches became a victim of their own success. They were so successful, everyone started doing them, and the more people did them, the less effective they became (see this post for more about this cycle).

However, the reality is that this was never a good business model anyway. Relying on ONE thing for your yearly income is actually a really crappy way to run a business. It doesn’t matter what the one thing is, it’s never a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

So, in this case, I would say yes, product launches are dead, IF you’re relying on them as the entire financial model for your business.

Scenario 2: No, product launches aren’t dead.

It’s been my position for years that the product launch is an excellent tool to have in your marketing toolbox (note: it’s a tool, not the entire box) IF viewed in its proper context.

For many entrepreneurs, the product launch is about:

  1. Making money (sometimes a lot of it … sometimes not so much).
  2. Building your email list (which you’ll need for all the promoting you’re going to have to reciprocate for all the folks who are jumping into your launch).

There’s no question product launches are great in both of these respects. But, there are more benefits of product launches:

  1. They can grow your exposure and visibility. Product launches give you an excuse to email your prospect list more than normal, to advertise on social media sites (or just do more organic posting), and to have other people promote you. All of the above will help you get more exposure and visibility. Even if your ideal prospects don’t opt in to your list (which is, of course, the most desirable action), the sheer fact they’re getting an introduction to who you are and what your business is about is huge, and can reap big rewards down the road.
  2. They can grow your credibility. When other people recommend or promote your work, they’re sharing their credibility with you. This is an excellent way to build your reputation and your influence.
  3. They can jumpstart your marketing momentum. It happens to all of us; we get stuck in a rut, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is launch something. The sheer act of launching generates energy and momentum that can carry over into other areas of our business, even if the launch itself isn’t as financially successful as we would like it to be.
  4. They can push you out of your comfort zone and cause you to face your fears. I’m a big believer that everything you want is on the other side of your greatest fear. But, for that to happen, you need to actually, you know, FACE your fears. So, you’re likely going to have to take some action to make your fears surface. And launches are an excellent way to trigger those fears, so you can move through them. (Plus, it doesn’t matter if your launch is a big failure OR a big success–both of those outcomes will likely trigger more blocks and fears.)

My belief is that, if you view a launch as a more holistic tool that will (hopefully) also generate some additional revenue for you, you’re far more likely to be happy with the results. If you’re just focused on how much money you’re making, you’re far more likely to not only spend the entire launch completely stressed out, but to also be disappointed by the results (and who wants to put herself through that?).

Scenario #3: It depends.

At the end of the day, it’s really up to how you view the product launch if you consider it dead or alive and kicking.

In my view, product launches can be an excellent tool in your toolbox, so if that’s how you’re using it, a product launch can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you don’t want to create three videos and a webinar and a livestream and line up a bunch of affiliate partners, you don’t have to. You can choose the precise love-based marketing tactics and approach that makes your heart sing.

And it still can be successful.

But, if you’re relying on a product launch to financially fund your business for six months or a year, it may not be the wisest choice.

I’m a strong believer in creating a business you love AND that loves you back, and making peace with the product launch is key to that. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs freak out, melt down, abandon their normal self care practices, even abandon their integrity and compass, all because they’ve turned the product launch into something bigger than it was ever intended to be.

For instance, I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are typically rock solid around carving out time for meditation or exercises stop all of that during a launch. And, if their businesses are all about mindset practices, along with being out of balance when they need it most, they’re also out of integrity with what their business stands for. Or, normally love-based entrepreneurs switch to fear-based marketing tactics in the middle of the launch because they’re panicking over the numbers.

When the smoke clears and the launch is over, along with dealing with whatever the results of the launch were, they now also have to deal with the remorse of losing their way during the process.

Needless to say, that’s definitely not the way to build a love-based business.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s completely possible to enjoy all the benefits of the product launch without it descending into a launch hell, and it starts with you being clear on how it fits into your business.

If this resonates with you, you may like to take the teachings deeper with my book, “Love-Based Online Marketing: Campaigns to Grow a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s available here.

7 Hot Predictions for Business Success in 2018

7 Hot Predictions for Business Success in 2018

Along with creating new goals and resolutions, it’s also that time of year to dust off the crystal ball (aka an angel snow globe in my case) and make some predictions for the New Year, especially around the hot topic of business success.

And, I’m not going to sugar coat it; 2017 was a little rough, and it could get rougher.

BUT, as always, there is opportunity as well, just as long as you’re open to what it looks like (in other words, it may not be dressed the way it was before OR the way you’d prefer it to be—but more on that in a bit).

Without further ado, let’s see what 2018 has in store for us.

1. It’s no longer “business as usual.”

One thing that became VERY clear in 2017 is how fast marketing strategies can simply cease to work, especially in the coaching/transformation industry. What used to work, isn’t (or, at least, it’s not working the way it used to).

Needless to say, this took some folks by surprise (while creating a lot of panic).

So, what happened?

I think it’s the part of the end of a cycle of two basic human drives (or two things we’re hardwired to be attracted to):

* The attraction of “new”

* And the attraction of “easy”

I’ll explain.

You may not know this, but there was a time (really!) where all you had to do was post a little opt-in box on your website with the words “Free Newsletter!” and people would sign up. (I actually once had someone email me wanting to get my free newsletter because my opt-in form wasn’t working properly.)

Now this was way back … when hearing the words “You got mail!” was exciting. (I got mail! Yay!)

Today, it’s a serious challenge to persuade people to even give you their email address much less buy something from you. And “You got mail!”? People are now excited when they manage to whittle down their inbox to below 100 emails.

Back then, email was new. Free newsletters were new. Therefore, it was a lot easier to see results.

And, in some cases, we’re talking pretty dramatic results.

In the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t uncommon for early adopters to get some insane results without doing a lot of work. And it wasn’t necessarily because what they offered was so incredible, or even that their marketing was so great.

It was because what they did was new.

And the power of new broke through the clutter.

So then, the attraction of “easy” kicked in. Early adopters made more money teaching their “easy” system to the next wave of entrepreneurs, who eagerly lapped it up. (After all, there are very few things we humans love better than something being “easy.”)

Of course, the fresh, shiny sheen of “new” eventually wears off, turning it “old” and “familiar.” “Old” and “familiar” is not nearly as sexy as “new.” They don’t attract nearly the attention, which means it doesn’t work nearly as well. Even worse, “new” becomes “old” even faster when more people use it.

Which means the early adopters need to find a different “new.” And the cycle starts all over again.

Until, eventually, we reach the predictable end.

Internet Marketing itself is no longer all that “new” or “easy.”

(And, all those tricks that came with it? Yeah, those are “old, familiar, and busted,” too.)

You see, the problem with “new” and “easy,” at least as it relates to Internet Marketing, is that it circumvents two key components of growing a successful business—work and patience.

And a lot of people get addicted to “new” and “easy” and forgot about the “time” and “work” part.

So, when “new” and “easy” stop getting results, there is panic.

Then what do we do?

Is the world as we know it over? Do we all need to get j-o-b-s?

Well, before you start trying to remember what a resume even looks like, let’s see what the next prediction is.

2. BUT it IS sort of “business as usual.”

Wait. I’m confused too. Wasn’t the first prediction that it’s no longer business as usual?

Yes, IF you’re building your business on a foundation of “new” and “easy.” While “new” and “easy” will always provide a shot in the arm, it’s not sustainable.

If you want a solid, dependable, profitable, successful business, then maybe it’s time to go back to solid, dependable, profitable, successful business practices.

What are those?

It’s simple—solve a problem that’s keeping your ideal clients up at night, and offer it to them at a fair price (fair to both of you—you need to make a living, and your ideal clients need to feel like they didn’t overpay for what was delivered).

How do you do that? Focus on three main principles:

* Attracting new prospects

* Turning those prospects into clients

* Taking great care of those clients

That’s really it.

Business really isn’t complicated. I know it can seem like it is (especially when you’re stuck in the cycle of “new” because you’re constantly having the chase the next “new” thing), but it truly doesn’t have to be. (And that includes enjoying sustained business success.)

So, how do you do all of that?

Well, let’s jump into prediction three.

3. Relationships are the new currency.

(Relationships were actually the old currency, too, but let’s not split hairs.)

People want to do business with people. People have ALWAYS wanted to do business with people. People WILL always want to do business with people.

So, how did we end up with so many empty, “personality” brand businesses that have little connection to their clients?

Simple. We forgot (blame the frenzy of “new” and “easy” coupled with how easy the internet makes it for us to hide behind our computer).

So how do you do that?

First, let your ideal prospects and clients and customers FEEL you. Hear your voice. Get to know your personality quirks. Maybe even show your vulnerability.

And, don’t ever forget about prediction four.

4. Quality never goes out of style.

There were many things we forgot when we were trapped in the “new” and “easy” cycle, including making sure we actually created a great product or service.

One of the principles of “new” was “speed.” Think about it—the people who benefit the most from “new” are the early adopters. The faster you can get something “new” out there, the better your results.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with speed. In fact, there are times when moving swiftly makes good business sense.

But, “speed” can quickly turn into “sloppy.” And, in the quest to make things happen faster, “sloppy” somehow became more acceptable. “Just launch it and fix it later” became the new motto (or, even worse, “launch it first and create it later”).

Again, there’s wisdom in “launching first and creating later.” For one thing, you won’t spend weeks or months creating something no one wants to buy. You’ll know you have a market.

But, the problem is when people buy, they’re expecting the product. So, you have no choice but to create it fast. And, that leads to “sloppy.”

What’s the alternative?

Ask your prospects and clients what they want (and if you have a good relationship with them, they’ll tell you). Test something small—maybe a small product or a free piece of content—and see what the results are. Keep an eye on what seems to be working (and not working) in your marketplace, so you can stay ahead of the trends.

And that leads us to prediction five.

5. Be nimble.

I can hear you now: “Wait. Didn’t you just say “speed” was the first step on a slippery road to ‘sloppy’?”

“Speed,” yes. But, just because you’re nimble doesn’t necessarily mean you’re moving fast with EVERY part of your business.

For me, being nimble means you’re in a position to see what’s out there and respond quickly to it.

For instance, remember MySpace? No? I’m not surprised. I barely remember it either.

Years ago, before Facebook became the ten-foot-tall gorilla, there was MySpace.

For awhile, MySpace was the hot social networking platform to be on. One of my friends even successfully sold a little product on how to make money on MySpace.

And then Facebook took off.

Enough said.

So, the point of this is you DO need to keep an eye open to what’s working and what’s not working. Just because Facebook is where your clients are today doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll be tomorrow.

(BUT, if you’ve created a connection with your ideal prospects, they’ll likely also follow you to the new platform.)

And, if you want to stay nimble, check out number six.

6. Keep an eye on your statistics.

I know, I know. Numbers aren’t sexy.

BUT, they’re one of the best ways to keep a finger on the pulse with not only what’s going on in your industry, but in your business. And they’re the best way to keep you on the path to sustained business success.

Here’s the thing: There’s no question that right now a lot of entrepreneurs are floundering because the strategies they used to used to both grow their business and enjoy business success aren’t working the way they used to.

BUT, let’s not forget there are also entrepreneurs out there who had their best year ever in 2017.

Just because something isn’t working in the rest of your industry doesn’t mean it will affect you. (Keep in mind, the reverse is true too—just because something is working for EVERYONE doesn’t mean you’ll have success with it.)

That’s why keeping an eye on your specific numbers and looking for trends is important.

What numbers should you watch? Anything you want to grow. Some ideas include:

* Email subscribers

* Opens/clicks on your email list

* How many of your prospects buy

* How many visitors to your website

* Specific numbers for any marketing strategy you’re doing (i.e. blog visitors, podcast downloads, YouTube watches, etc.)

And, to brig it all home, prediction seven.

7. It’s never too soon to panic (aka someone, somewhere will panic this year).

Just as people are attracted to “new” and “easy,” they’re also attracted to “panic.”

It’s important to remember, panicking is a choice. Yes, I know, when the bottom falls out, it’s easy to slip into panic.

And, it’s important to feel those feelings—so if that’s what you’re feeling, then feel it and let it move through you.

Just don’t let it control your actions or decisions.

Nothing good happens when you run your business from a state of panic. And, you especially need to make decisions from your inner wisdom and/or God (or your higher power) if the bottom HAS dropped out. (In other words, when it’s most important that you don’t panic, you’re most likely to feel panic.) (Yes, I agree, it sucks.)

So, feel it, and THEN take action.

ESPECIALLY since there’s actually a lot of opportunity and a lot hope to be found out there.

In fact, let me end on a high note:

I made the claim that Internet Marketing itself is no longer “new” and “easy,” but has moved to “old” and “familiar.”

However, that doesn’t mean Internet Marketing doesn’t work. Quite the opposite. Internet Marketing ABSOLUTELY works—BUT only if you use it correctly.

Relying on novelty of “new” to break through the clutter is a stressful, losing proposition. But, using an old and familiar tool to give people what they really want (i.e. a solid relationship, a high-quality product, etc.) is absolutely a winning strategy.

Even better, it’s also key to building your business on a solid foundation of business success.

If you want more help, you may want to dig into my Love-Based Business series is a great place to get started. Check out all the books here (especially my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book—you can get it here.)