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The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

I was recently cleaning out some old papers I happened to find at the bottom of my desk, when I came across some teachings from Dan Kennedy.

If you haven’t heard of Dan Kennedy, he’s this old, grizzled marketing and copy guru and author of the No BS series of books. In the beginning of my career, I learned a lot about how to write traditional copy from him. (He was also the “Kennedy” in the Glazer-Kennedy Marketing company.)

I glanced through the papers and this Dan Kennedy quote caught my eye:

“If you’re still in the same business you were in 3-5 years ago, you have no business.”

I then looked at the date of the training and saw it was from 2012.

This really hit me, because, you see, my first thought when I read that quote was “how timely.” When really, Dan Kennedy wrote it six years ago.

For many entrepreneurs in the online information product industry (which includes the transformation industry), 2017 was a really rough year. That was the year we started to see how many of the business “truths” we thought were infallible were, in fact, very fallible.

And, for some entrepreneurs who had built businesses on those “infallible” truths, even big, multi-million-dollar businesses, were seeing massive cracks and their businesses crumble on what they thought was a pretty solid structure.

So, let’s start by acknowledging the truth: Yes, it can be scary. Very scary. If you’re worried or scared about the future of your business and you’re uncertain about what to do or which direction to go, you’re absolutely not alone. I  encourage you to feel whatever it is that wants to come up—just don’t let it stop you from taking action.

And let’s acknowledge another truth: It sucks.

Look, as humans, we are biologically wired to not like change. It’s in our DNA. Change can be dangerous to our very existence. So, as much as possible, our brains try to minimize change in order to keep us safe.

Which is why this idea of constantly looking at our businesses and seeing what we need to do differently is exhausting and overwhelming.

After all, don’t we want to just “set it and forget it”?

Wouldn’t it be nice to discover the “secret of success” and then finally stop looking?

Alas, if only it were that simple.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, I think first of all, acknowledge that it is both scary and daunting, AND decide to take action regardless.

Second, pay attention to your industry. Go to events, talk to friends and colleagues, follow people who follow trends and write about them (this blog can be a good place to start).

Third, know this:

Maybe it means that you tweak an existing product or service to better meet demand.

Maybe you change how you market.

Maybe you add a new product line or retire an old product line.

To be honest, you might even welcome some of changes.

Because, along with the landscape changing, you yourself are changing, and your business (which while not “alive” in the traditional sense, is still a living entity) are also changing.

Listen to what wants to emerge. Be open to what wants to change. (It’s easier to surrender to what wants to happen than it is to fight it.)

Lastly, know some things really DON’T ever change.

For instance, a business is really about finding and connecting with your ideal clients. It’s about building relationships. It’s about giving value. It’s about making offers your ideal clients want to buy. Those things don’t change.

And if you keep those business truths in mind (not to mention actually building your business on those truths and not the slippery, cracked “truths” of whatever is hot in the moment), you’ll be able to weather any storm …

No matter how scary it might initially look.

If you’d like to dig more deeply into building your business on a solid foundation, my Love-Based Business books can help, specifically my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Video] Flip It! Are You Trading Your Success For Safety?

[Video] Flip It! Are You Trading Your Success For Safety?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay safe. The problem comes in when wanting to stay safe starts to interfere with your dreams.

I started this conversation on this episode of Flip It! called “A Simple Marketing Exercise That Could Transform Your Business.” There, I talk about committing to consistently taking action on one marketing tactic for a year and see what demons and triggers come up for you.

Chances are, your head will be full of excuses about why you can’t possibly do that, plus your fear-based emotions will likely raise their ugly heads so you’ll feel like absolute crap.

And, if that wasn’t enough, you may find other things happening to sabotage you, such as family dramas suddenly increasing or maybe you end up sick or so overwhelmed and stressed you’re not able to get much done.

The reason why all of that happens is because your brain, both your ego and your subconscious, are trying to keep you safe.

Not happy. Safe.

You see, if you are taking frequent and consistent marketing action, I don’t care what marketing action that is, but if that’s what you’re doing, something will change.

It could be a huge change. Or it could be something smaller.

But, your business and life WILL shift.

And, change can mean danger.

Right now, you’re safe. Relatively speaking. Clearly, something could happen that’s out of the blue and completely unexpected, but barring that, you’re safe.

And, if you stay in your comfort zone, you will likely stay relatively safe.

Your ego and subconscious have done their job.

But, just because you’re safe, doesn’t mean you’re happy. It also doesn’t mean you’re successful.

So, if you want to become more successful than you are right now, you have to get outside your comfort zone. You have to do things differently.

You have to take risks.

And, you’re likely going to feel awful while it’s happening. Your inner critic is going to criticize you and all sorts of uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anger, resentment, guilt, shame and even grief, will be triggered.

Your job is to both feel your emotions and not listen to your inner critic.

And, keep moving forward.

Because, if you stop, you’re choosing safety. That’s what your ego and your subconscious want. They want you to stop so you stay safe.

They’re not trying to make you feel bad because they’re being mean or they’re evil or something. They’re doing it because they have your best interests in mind. They want you to be safe! What more could you possibly want?

But, if you push through, that’s the place where all your dreams live.

The best part? Your subconscious and your ego WILL adjust and eventually even success will become your new comfort level.

Until you’re ready to move to the next level of success, that is.

(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 Online Marketing” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

[Goal Setting Checklist] A Simple System to Make Your Dreams Come True

[Goal Setting Checklist] A Simple System to Make Your Dreams Come True

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.

Now, on the flip side, in many cases, one of the main reasons why your love-based goals haven’t come true is because they don’t match your current identity. For instance, let’s say you’ve always wanted to write a novel, but the years have gone by and you’ve never even written a paragraph. Why is that? Because your current identity sees yourself as a wanna-be author, NOT an actual author.

That’s why taking the time to change your identity so it matches your love-based goals is key to having your love-based goals come true.

So, how do you change your identity? Keep reading — the next 3 goal setting steps are a good place to start.

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! Can Gratitude Help You Manifest Your Dreams?

[Video] Flip It! Can Gratitude Help You Manifest Your Dreams?

If you’ve ever dabbled into Law of Attraction principles or other spiritual practices designed to help you grow your business and manifest your dreams, you’ve likely been encouraged to have a gratitude practice.

And, if you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, including myself. you may find yourself rolling your eyes at this advice.

It sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Just come up with a list of things you’re grateful and that somehow is going to help you manifest your desires.

Really?

Precisely how is THAT going to make you more successful? Especially if you’re struggling right now and the last thing you feel is grateful.

So, I get it. I was skeptical too.

Then, I read a study in the book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

A group of participants were asked to hold a beacon with DNA strands in it while focusing on unwinding the strands. If they just used their thoughts to unwind them (like what we all learned in the movie “The Secret”, which was anything you thought about, you attracted into your life) nothing happened.

BUT, the group of participants who felt grateful as they thought about unwinding the strands, they were actually able to unwind them by 25%.

The key is to combine the emotions of gratitude with the power of your thoughts. If you can do this, and do this consistently (like every day) you’ll manifest what you desire.

Gratitude is one of the highest vibrations there is. That means the longer you’re able to stay in gratitude, the longer your energy is operating at that higher level, and as like attracts like, that high vibrational energy is attracting your desires to you.

Now, I’m grossly simplifying Dr. Dispenza’s work here, but if you want a couple of pointers to get started, take a few minutes to watch below:

 

(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 — you can check it out here.

[Video] Flip It! Successful People Are Just Lucky

[Video] Flip It! Successful People Are Just Lucky

My grandfather was a very successful man.

He started a very successful business that flourished during WWII. When other people were cutting back, he was making money. He invested at the stock market at the right time and made a killing.

Heck, he used to go to Vegas and win at Keno. Keno has some of the worst odds. But, Grandpa would win. $1500 a pop.

Yes, Grandpa was lucky. And he knew it.

So, how did it happen? Was he born under the lucky tree?

Here’s what I think — I think he was lucky because he believed he was lucky.

It was a self fulfilling prophecy.

The more he believed, the luckier he became.

Now, I know some of you are saying “Michele, it can’t be that easy. And besides, I’m not lucky, so this wouldn’t work for me anyway.”

But, what if it COULD be that easy? Us humans like to overcomplicate things–maybe it really IS as simple as it sounds?

Still not convinced? Let me share a story. I decided to test this theory on myself.

For years I never won at raffles. Never won. I used to say things, “Oh I never win at raffles.”

So, I thought, what if I changed that? What if I started to say I always win at raffles?

Next time I was at a raffle, I decided to believe I was going to win.

And you know what happened? I won!

So, I used that evidence at the next raffle to believe I would win. And it happened again. Pretty soon I was always winning at raffles. It was getting a little embarrassing actually.

Now, I realize if you have all this evidence that you aren’t lucky and you never win at raffles, it may be tough to convince yourself otherwise. So, I would suggest starting small, even if it has nothing to do with money. Do you have parking lot karma? Every time you pull into a parking lot, a spot opens up? Start there.

Or maybe there’s something else you’re always lucky at you can focus on. Like maybe you have the best assistant in the world or you have a knack for publishing Facebook posts that get a lot of comments and likes. Or maybe you have a popular podcast. Focus on that. And, every time something happens in your business that’s successful and lucky, add it to your evidence that you ARE successful and lucky.

It likely isn’t going to change overnight. But, it CAN change, if you’re committed to flipping your perspective.

(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 — you can check it out here.