The Legacy of An Entrepreneurial Mother

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With Mother’s Day approaching, the stores are displaying a variety of cards, plants and gifts, and the restaurants are reminding us to make reservations for Sunday brunch or dinner.

It’s a holiday that encourages a demonstration of appreciation for our moms, for their love, sacrifices, and life lessons we have been imparted with by their teachings and examples.

As entrepreneurs, the life lessons and values we impart to our own children may be a little different from non-entrepreneurial parents.

So what are the lessons we impart to our children as a business owner?

As crazy risk taking business owners, what do our children learn from our vocational choices? What notes are they taking, and how might they be encouraged to be fearless in building their own life experiences?

The decisions we make will have a positive or negative impact on our children at some point, not because of a singular decision, but ultimately more so by our beliefs that determine the outcome of the decision.

Our beliefs and principles guide us in either retreating from or conquering our fears, and then cultivates the level of success we are able to achieve.

Will our children eventually model our leaps of faith that eschew monetary risks in favor of intrinsic and esoteric lessons that may be (at the very least) imparted, with faith that it will pay off financially as well?

Will our kids be encouraged to fearlessly forge their own paths and be more confident in building their futures based on our example?

One of the biggest hurdles a business owner faces is coming to terms with their money mindset and self confidence, both of which are developed in correlation with our own parents’ beliefs and actions in those areas.

And because children learn by example, our own actions always speak louder than our words, just as it did with our parents.

What beliefs and actions of ours as entrepreneurs will be passed along to the next generation and contribute toward our legacies?

Most parents consciously want the best for their children’s’ futures.

Mothers would likely prefer to make choices that allows us to accomplish our own achievements and success so we can in turn do more for our families, as well as positively influencing our kids to adopt principles which allows them to do the same.

A majority of business owners work least some late nights, weekends, and sometimes or often travel far from home, which takes time away from our kids. There are many sacrifices, which includes occasionally or frequently missed soccer games and dance recitals.

There are also opportunities and the freedom to attend all of our kids’ events when we are our own boss.

Hopefully our children feel (either years down the road or in the very near future) that following our passions, mission and vision was at the very least inspiring and empowering, and propels them toward their own future of success and happiness.

As an entrepreneurial mom, what would you like for your children to glean from your business building endeavors in terms of values and life lessons?

When we decide to build a business, we never know what it creates as a result for our children, or what they may eventually build in their future because of it.

How has your journey in building a business positively affected your kids,and what do you hope they apply it to their lives?

5 Things You’re Probably Not Doing to Increase Sales

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When growing and expanding a business, most business owners need to have as many possible fishing poles in the water in order to grow their business quickly and effectively.

A big area of focus is usually around lead generation and customer acquisition. With the cost of lead generation increasing, and the quality of leads decreasing, it’s crucial for business owners to maximize their efforts in converting leads into customers.

For any business owner, the more proactive they are about leveraging possibilities the

SalesFishingTypically the breakdown within the process occurs within the follow up process for both online and offline companies. For example, a friend of mine recently posted to Facebook how astounded he was that home contractors he needed to hire wouldn’t return his calls. My husband has been trying to buy a new Lincoln Navigator or a Cadillac Escalade for months and can’t find a salesperson who stays in touch.

Online technology can put the follow up process on autopilot, and can work alone or in tandem with offline follow up strategies such as sales team initiatives. Here are five follow up strategies that can be extremely effective for increasing sales and conversions that are easy to automate.

  1. Follow Up Emails: In the internet marketing world, its often said, “the money is in the list.”  Meaning, that once you have a list of qualified prospects, the money is there provided that there are consistent follow up measures. Depending on your market, this can be an excellent strategy.Content marketing can provide more information, share resources, request appointments, confirm appointments, promote special sales or offers, etc. Resources such as white papers, insight articles, and case studies are highly effective pieces of content as well. The trick is to develop content that your ideal clients will
    find compelling and hopefully, irresistible.Additional automated follow up emails might be sent based on what action your reader takes, depending how advanced your email software is. Even a simple newsletter is an easy and powerful marketing strategy that can keep you in front of your customers that many small and mid-market companies miss the boat on.Consider that just one monthly email a mortgage company client of ours sends usually results in tens of
    thousands of dollars in revenue from the influx of inquiries generated in response.
  2. Targeted invitations: Considering that only 3% of your prospect pool are ready to buy, it’s imperative to be able to strike while the iron is hot. In his Chet Holmes best-selling book “The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies“, he reveals research that illustrate how only 3% of your customers are in the market to buy your products or services at any given time. These 3% need to be laser targeted by every sales and marketing campaign you can implement, because that small slice of pie is also being pummeled by offers from your competitors.Because business building relies upon relationship building, inviting your audience to attend online and offline events can speed up the process. I recently worked with a CFO consultant client, and we designed in-person workshops that significantly increased his sales and revenue. Workshops can easily be offered online and on demand as well for uncomplicated delivery.
  3. Custom Audience: For companies and business owners who have a list of prospects, regardless of whether it was created with automated or manual marketing methods, there are potential opportunities to use effective Facebook marketing strategies. Custom audience refers to uploading your database to Facebook and allowing their matching process to identify which of your prospects have Facebook accounts, which in turn enables you to serve “customized” ads to your audience. Read to the end for an example case study that brings many of these strategies together.
  4. Retargeting: Not every prospect is going to sign up for your free offers, attend your events or buy your  products and services at the present moment. However, they might be ready to do so a few hours, days or weeks from now which is what makes retargeting so powerful. Retargeting is when customized ads follow you around the internet, and the pair of shoes you just looked at on Nordstrom start popping up in your Facebook feed or on websites. Retargeting isn’t just for shoes anymore, and if the pump fits, you probably should try it on for size.Retargeting can be used to increase customer action taken for the strategies mentioned in this article, such as increasing list building, sharing content, event invitations and sales initiatives.
  5. Sales Funnel Development: Your customers will vary from person to person. Some people will buy quickly, while others will look for opportunities to dip their toe into the water and get more familiar before diving in. Most companies have opportunities to create free content, as well as low risk introductory offers that offers value to your customers and provides low risk ways to build the relationship. The sooner prospects invest in products and services that have a positive outcome, the more opportunities you have to create additional sales from that customer.The biggest opportunities lie in combining these methods. A client we recently worked with had doubled his lead generation with initiatives we helped execute, and then needed to convert his prospects more quickly. We came up with an online training webinar to invite his community to, and automated a series of invitations and reminder emails. We coupled the emails with customized reminders using Facebook ads. The reminders ranged from attending the webinar, listening to the replay and taking advantage of the special promotional offer. This campaign doubled my clients sales opportunities for the month within only a week’s time.

Practically every business has the opportunity to supplement the follow up process with any or all of these initiatives. If you’re interested in learning how these strategies might apply to your business, let’s schedule a call and explore possibilities.

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Don’t Put All Your Business Eggs in One Basket

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In all likelihood, you’ve participated in an Easter egg hunt at some point in your life. If you compare an egg hunt to your business this Easter, you might think of said eggs as clients.

If your business is up and running, you’ve been successful with your egg hunt. You’ve gotten at least one client who’s well-paying enough to put your business in the black. However, when you go on an Easter egg hunt, you’re generally only given one basket. Is keeping all of your eggs in that one basket the right approach for your business?

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If you have focused all of your efforts on one client, what happens if something happens to that client? If they’re your sole source of revenue, will your business thrive, or even survive, without them?

Many business owners rely on referrals and can become dependent on referral sources for most of their business.  When those referral sources fail, it can put their business in jeapardy.

Many clients will be consistently looking for the glossier product, the shinier egg. The trick, of course, is to always stay one step ahead of your competition. If you rest on your laurels or rely on client loyalty to get you by, you might end up with lost or even cracked eggs which quickly become rotten.

Birds keep all of their eggs in one nest because it’s easier and safer to nurture them. If they’re all together, they’re less likely to lose track of their precious clutch. If you’ve ever seen a duck pond with a small island, you’ve probably noticed the enormous number of nests.  This keeps the eggs safe from predators because anything that would want to eat an egg can’t fly over to an island.

However, if you nurture your clients like you’re on an island, you’ll end up so isolated that you won’t be able to know what your competition has to offer.

By anticipating what current clients are going to want before they realize what they’re not getting, you can nip the possibility of them cutting ties in the bud. What do you have to offer that your competitors don’t?

Eggs-cuse Me, Do You Have Any Referrals?

Depending on where you are in the journey of your business, you might be hunting for the wrong eggs. If you don’t ask your clients for referrals, you’re letting opportunity slip through your fingers like an Easter egg whose dye hasn’t dried yet.

Are you using the same tried and true marketing methods, thinking in “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” terms? Could there be more innovative ways that you haven’t considered? Is your blog active and current?

Two ways to make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket are to ask your current clients for referrals and use innovative marketing.

A Very Eggs-citing Product

What products could you make available to clients that you haven’t considered?

You can use spring celebrations as inspiration to create a new product that you’ve been procrastinating turning into a reality.  Or perhaps you’ve fully created a product, and what you’ve actually left on the back burner is the launch.

Think outside the basket and build your business in a way that keeps egg production high and rotten eggs at the bare  minimum.

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Entrepreneurial Leprechauns Can Find A Pot of Gold

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As the above poem states, Irish entrepreneurs (AKA IrishPreneurs) know that the Luck of the Irish doesn’t just occur spontaneously. Like all other entrepreneurs, IrishPreneurs create their own luck.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t sit back and wait for the gold to find them. They go out and get it. They jump on the phone and pound the pavement every day until they have created their own fortune—one gold coin at a time. It’s the proactive business owners who consistently go after what they want who make it to the top.

Here are some fast facts about successful IrishPreneurs, some you’ve heard of and some you may not have. Even if you’re already familiar with the work of the ones who are most prominently known as artists, you might not be aware of how much their entrepreneurial spirit factored into their success.

Bono was born in Ireland but rapidly found his way to international success as the lead singer of U2. Not long after the band made it to the top of the music industry, he became widely known for his philanthropic work, which has included increasing awareness about civil rights, world hunger, and HIV/AIDS. In fact, he has been called “the face of fusion philanthropy”, and part of the way he accomplished this was by collaborating with powerful leaders in the business world.

George Bernard Shaw is best known as an Irish playwright, although he spent the majority of his life in London. He’s perhaps most famous for writing Pygmalion, which was later turned into the musical My Fair Lady. Pygmalion is about many things, but one of them is the transformation of a flower girl into an entrepreneur who owned her own business. Shaw himself had a vast understanding of economic endeavors, as evidenced by his co-founding of the London School of Economics.

There are also some extremely successful, female Irish entrepreneurs you might not be familiar with.

Moya Doherty is the producer and co-founder of Riverdance and the director of Tyrone Productions, one of Ireland’s foremost indie TV producing companies.

Colette Twomey is the CEO and co-founder of Clonakilty Blackpudding Company, which is one of the best-known brands in the Irish food industry.

Terry Prone is the author of numerous books and is a columnist for the Irish Examiner. She’s also the chairperson of the Communications Clinic in Dublin, which specializes in PR and media coaching.

These IrishPreneurs have unquestionably found their pots of gold in often high barrier industries like music, theatre, dance, food and writing. Each of these artists are far from starving, yet what separates them from their peers who haven’t reached their own pinnacle of success?

Most entrepreneurs’ pots of gold can usually be found through a combination of personal gifts, talents, passion, and purpose mixed with consistent drive, discipline, and a little luck. All of these elements mix like the colors in a rainbow, which leads to personal fortune. Ask any business owner and they will tell you that the harder they work, the luckier they get.

Do you know where your pot of gold can be found? Do you know how to find it? What does it look like? Will it materialize in the form of a company, franchise, or your own book?

Successful entrepreneurs create their own rainbows to follow and follow them in order to create their own luck faster. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For a “Find the Green” conversation with Cheryl, go here: www.CherylHeppard.com/apply

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Maslow’s Heirarchy of Marketing Needs

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Anyone who ever took Psychology 101 or a sociology class learned that Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health based on fulfilling innate human needs according to the level of priority, ending in self-actualization.

The pyramid shape is similar to the sales funnel, albeit upside down, or is it? Maslow’s priority of needs correlates very well to the ascension model of marketing goals and actions.

Basic/Awareness: At the base of the triangle, businesses must provide basic nutrients and shelter to their audience in order to create awareness. Samples, freebies, and promotional items are typically offered in order to initially attract prospects.

Safety/Membership: Then, in order to keep potential customer’s attention, it’s necessary to find ways to convince
them that they are in the right place, and have found a credible place where they may find what they are looking for and won’t be taken advantage of.

Social/Engagement: When a prospect feels that they are in the right place and part of the right tribe where they will receive value in relation to their own goals and desires, they will become engaged. It becomes likely that they are consuming content and building the cliche but necessary “know, like and trust.”

Esteem/Invested: This is the place where the ascension gains traction and customers feel confident enough to initially invest in your products or services, or invest a greater amount. In order to achieve this, your prospects must feel respected which creates reciprocity for you and your company.

Self-Actualized/Loyal Repeat Customer: This is the coveted peak of the mountain, where customers have been indoctrinated in your unique selling proposition, and feel that they only want to buy from you over your competitors. Your creative marketing or value proposition has converted prospects into loyal and raving fans who will buy from you over and over again.

Does your content marketing plan take into account your customers’ needs? Are there other similarities or disparities between the two ascension models, I’d love to know your thoughts.

Today is the LAST day to sign up for my brand new content marketing course that will teach you how to create a strategic marketing plan that builds your business.

Sign up here: www.CreativeContentCourse.com

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Increase Your Creativity for More Success & Happiness

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When I was in Vegas last week, the Bulgarian driver who picked us up had a conversation with my husband and kids and careers.

She said that she wants her four year old daughter to be. . . . an artist!

My husband asked her why and we loved her reply:

“Because artists are usually the happiest people.”

As parents of an aspiring 17 year old artist, who currently has green hair, we circled back to that conversation many times over the weekend.

Creativity does indeed increase happiness, and it’s a basic human need that has infinite opportunities to be expressed in life as well as work.

Studies have shown that employees value the ability to be creative and share their talents within the workplace more than money, and companies that foster a creative environment also reap rewards.

Innovation and creativity is the lifeblood of any successful company today.

  • A two-year in-house creativity course offered at General Electric resulted in a sixty percent increase in concepts available for patents, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • In 1999, after investing over two million dollars in research and development, Hewlett Packard generated more than 1,300 applications for patents.
  • When the Sylvania Company offered several thousand employees a forty- hour creative problem-solving course, their return on investment came to $20 for every $1 they spent.

Business owners of small and mid-market companies have equal opportunity to foster creativity in their teams as well as themselves as leaders of the company.

Creating a culture of creativity and has been key to iconic brands such as Apple, Zappos, LuLu Lemon, Google, IKEA, and Disney just to name a few.

When you give yourself license to loosen up and be more creative, leading your team to do the same will happen effortlessly if you give them permission to share their ideas and innovative thoughts.

Nurturing your creative side is the only way to truly unlock your strategic abilities and integrate all of your talents into your marketing.

Create a brand that is so compelling that it creates a culture with a cult-like following that can’t get enough of your company through your content as well as products and services.

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Four Ways to Easily Get More Done in Less Time

hats-nMany entrepreneurs juggle a variety of roles within their business, usually justifying it with the belief that they can’t afford to put new employees on the payroll. It’s a dangerous mindset to have when running a business, which can actually cost the business much more in the long run.

Besides, wearing multiple hats can really give you a headache.

Consider how many tasks and responsibilities that go along with running even a small business  that is in the start up stage.

Administration, blogging, bookkeeping, banking, business planning, copywriting,content development, contracts, customer service, development and design, joint ventures, legal documents, shipping, marketing, operations, photography, video, public relations, press releases, sales, revenue, social media, strategic planning, team building, technology, website management, and so much more depending on the industry.

The role of the business owner is to focus on creating new business, finding clients, and increasing revenue. If you can find a $5K client through lead generation in a few hours time, it doesn’t make sense to be doing social media posts and book keeping that you can outsource for $20-$50 a week.

Almost any business owner can’t afford to do the tasks they think they can’t afford to delegate. And practically every company from start up to multi-seven figures has opportunities to better leverage their time and talents.

Here are some tips for increasing productivity, and your sales.

  1. Make a list: Keep track of all the tasks you do over the course of a few weeks. From answering emails, filing, and appointment setting to writing checks and going to the post office. Keep a work diary for yourself, and take note of how much you enjoy fulfilling those
  2. Keep or Cast Away: Review your list and circle everything that could be delegated, running errands, including personal errands, answering the phone and emails, book keeping, etc. Everything that isn’t circles should go on your “CEO list”, which means that it is a responsibility that makes sense to be completed only by you.
  3. Outsource: Take steps to hire team members who can handle everything that no longer makes sense to complete on your own. Have someone on your team do the preliminary interviews so you can make a final decision with the most qualified candidates.
  4. Fill Your Calendar: Now you that you have more time for the responsibilities that will help grow your company, be diligent about filling your extra time only with those responsibilities and be vigilent about not being a control freak and let your team members carry out their jobs without being micro-managed by you.

Create Your Content Confidently with Your Quintessential Clients in Mind Checklist

 

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Dear Stephana, Shelagh, Shala, Steve, Darlene, Michael, Melissa, Joyce, Julie and Jo. . . . . . .

The other day I was looking at a prospective client’s website, as well as their lead generation strategy and blog articles, and after ten minutes of perusal,  I looked for a hint of whom they were marketing to, yet there was a clear refusal in giving me the answer. 😉

When creating content, the goal is to have a cohesive marketing message that positions you as a specialist and exhibits your expertise in every part of your digital and offline marketing strategy.

When I rebranded and shifted who I wanted to market to a couple years ago, I had an “aha!” moment when I realized that I was still creating content for startup business owners, when I wanted to work with clients who had been in business for at least a couple of years.

I had to make a conscious effort to stop creating content that was tailored more so for my previous market, and start only writing to the clients I wanted to work with currently. It wasn’t easy but it was effective when I polished my messaging.

If someone looked at only your blog posts, would it be obvious who your audience is and what results your services offer? It’s easy to get distracted from your platform and wander into irrelevant territories, but here is a quick checklist that can help you clarify your brand message, engages your perfect audience and  demonstrates your brilliance in a way that builds your consulting or coaching business.

  1. Write to your ideal clients. Think about who your most favorite clients are or that you’ve worked with previously. Whenever you write a newsletter, a blog post or create any type of marketing, write with them in mind. Ask yourself if the topic at hand would appeal to them or be relevant. If the answer is yes, then you can proceed but if not, it’s probably best to find try another topic.
  2. Call them out: Try to tailor your content specifically to your industry so that it reaffirms to your reader that they are in the right place. Refer to your audience and their specific job titles or related groups in pertinent ways so that your content confirms that you speaking to them individually about congruent matters.
  3. Stay in your lane: Even though you have expertise in a wide variety of areas, don’t dilute your brand by veering into other lanes. Stay the course by writing about topics that fall within your brand.

For instance, a client of mine who is a Chief Financial Officer is extremely knowledgeable about marketing topics, but if his blog had articles about Facebook marketing, it would confuse his market, and possibly even damage his brand.

The thing to avoid here is the perception that you are a “jack of all trades, master of none.” You can do considerable damage to your brand by not reining as the King or Queen of your content.

Whenever I write a blog post, it has usually been inspired by something that recently happened, such as a challenge or big win that a client or I recently had.  I usually go through this quick checklist to make sure it’s a fit, and then I can confidently proceed with writing and publishing my content.

If content creation is a challenge for you, check out my brand new program and get my help with building your business for the entire year: www.MonthlyMomentum.com

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Your Brand is Right In Front of Your Face

mybMany business owners struggle with their “brand.”  Marketers are notorious for “rebranding.”   Branding companies are kept in business because business owners often feel lost in the land of brand.

But if you click your ruby red shoes together, you’ll find that you have been at home in your brand all along.

A strategic brand plan should begin with a detailed depiction of who your most ideal clients are, and then describe the solutions your market is seeking.  This is more important than any color, logo, or tagline.  You should target your brand to your clients, but integrate everything that you bring to the table in a way that creates an environment in which you both feel comfortable spending time.

Yet, the visual look of your brand is extremely important. If your branding is dated, cluttered or has a “do it yourself” look, you could be losing leads by the minute as prospective clients and visitors will indeed judge the book by its cover.

Your brand should reflect your personality, passions, and talents.  It can be difficult to convey YOU when handing your branding over to a professional. It’s up to you to take control of the feel, look and design of your marketing.

The truth is that you already have designed your brand, and it’s right in front of your face, right this minute.

Take a look at your office.  Look around your home. Take stock in your clothing, and your style.  Your taste, style and flair is everywhere, right down to the car you drive, the meals you eat, and the jewelry you choose.

Are you fancy or casual?  High end or homey? Patterned or plain?  Upscale or shabby chic? Luxury or budget friendly? Vintage or modern?

Look at the colors you’ve chosen.  Here is a photo of my living room, does it look like me?  Notice the earthy colors, and the vibrant art work.  My chairs and pillows are fun and whimsical with fringe accents.

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If your home and style aren’t a fit for who you currently are and where you’re headed, maybe you want to buy all new stuff in the very near future, then go to the store and see where your eye is drawn.  Take photos of what you would want to buy.

Go to a bookstore and see what catches your attention.  Put the photos together to create a collage.  There are many photo collage apps that would allow you to see everything within one screen.

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Your brand should be a natural extension of you, if you are the face of your brand.  If you want people to buy into you, then you must show them who you are, not who someone else thinks you should be.

Put your brand glasses on and take in everything that you have already chosen that surrounds you, and then create a brand that is beautifully you and you will attract clients who love everything you have to offer.

If you have any comments or thoughts, please leave me a comment below, and thanks for reading!

Can You Sell The Unsellable?

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Possession as they say is 9/10’s of the law. The meaning that it implies is that ownership is easier to prove if one has possession of something, and being the legal owner may be difficult to enforce without possession.

But it’s not that easy or ethical in business, or in life.

And the proof is always in the pudding.

Business can be a cut throat environment, however, one of the most important and valuable assets any business or entrepreneur can have is their reputations.

Yet there are many instances where reputations are carelessly jeopardized for a variety of imagined short term benefits; saving time, saving money, profits, etc.

Last week, I saw another business using an illustration that my team and I had created for a training call last month. I was somewhat amused and flattered, but hey, I paid $60 for that graphic. I messaged the business who was using it and they removed it without any apology or explanation.

No harm done I suppose other than my annoyance and a mental note about the ethics of that business.

Then, I saw an email from a business owner who has hosting a training call about a business strategy that someone else is very well known for. A couple of words were added to the training name, but it was essentially the same platform. People are talking and the damage to the imitator’s reputation will last longer than any profits made from selling someone else’s program.

It’s very difficult to create success with something that isn’t truly ours to sell. Just because we might “possess” something, doesn’t mean we have the ownership we need.

And we have to own it. Our message, our platform, our brand, and we have to really own our own creative work. If we don’t feel personally connected to what we’re selling, our convictions and confidence become compromised. Our chemistry changes.

Think about how lie detectors work, the machine is able to detect physical changes in the body, which are created by our mental state.

I bought a “Canada Goose” coat online recently without really paying attention to the site I was buying from. When the coat arrived, it was from Beijing, which raised red flags for me. I emailed Canada Goose and they confirmed that the company I bought from was not an authorized dealer, and it was most likely counterfeit.

My credit card company promptly refunded me because it’s illegal to pass something off as original when it’s not.

I often receive intake forms from business owners who are really struggling to create a sustainable income, but when I look at their websites it is so  obvious why they are struggling.

Abundance coaches who don’t have abundance. . . .

Business coaches selling six figure sales strategies who barely have a five figure business. . . .

Financial mentors whose personal financials are a mess. . . .

They can’t sell what they don’t truly own.

Everyone has their own original passions, talents, and gifts, and within them lies our own unique and original purpose. There is no need to eschew our own potential and emulate someone else, the

Sell what you OWN so you feel awesome about what you have to offer.

Your prospective clients are human lie detectors, and your bank balance will reflect any discrepancies.