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Do Not Make These Startup Mistake’s (Pssst. I did!)

A few years ago I taught a business boot camp at a local university. It was for people who had business ideas, but weren’t quite sure how to go about implementing them. It was a “how to.”

Everyone in the class had the similar needs:

  • They had an idea and wanted to grow it into a sustainable income.
  • They’d set aside some money to get started but weren’t sure if they had enough.
  • They had a plan. (Kinda-Sorta)

What they didn’t have was “The fourth bullet point.”

How do I make this real? -How does it go from being an idea to a reality?

Here is some of what I shared with them.

You don’t have a business if you don’t ever sell anything. You have a hobby!

Let that sink in for a minute.

Okay?

I’m going to ask you do something that will require a leap of faith on your part. I’m going to warn you that you are going to have to do this over and over, because like your favorite guilty pleasure – It ain’t going away any time soon: Fight the urge to believe that God, The Universe, The Angels and all the Saints are going to do the heavy lifting for you.

I know, I know! you are full of passion, desire and enough energy to supply power to a small country.

Maybe even The Universe.

Know what I mean Vern?

Who do you share it with?

You don’t know. So you fret and worry and wonder just what the heck you got yourself into. Who is going to buy my stuff?

When I started my business I decided the whole world needed me. I mean, why not? I confused love with need.

The whole world may have loved me but the whole world wasn’t buying from me.

They never have and they never will. I am a really great guy but not everyone needs what I offer.

Without your ideal client you have nothing to sell because if no one needs it why should anyone buy it except for the people who “get it.”

“Oh, John, please. This is cruel and unusual punishment. I have no clue who my ideal client is. I’ve tried and tried….”

Look in the freakin’ mirror for gosh sake’s. Read your journal and don’t burst out laughing when you read the things you wrote.

  • What turns you on?
  • What can you NOT live without?
  • What resonates with ya?

People don’t buy a product or a service. They buy us. They buy honesty, integrity and relationships. They buy YOU because you believe in your product or service. You cannot live without it.

Let me share an example with you of someone who nailed it by sharing themselves with their readers. It’s a blog called Defining Yellow written by Kourtney Benson. It’s all spelled our plain and simple and you know almost immediately if you want to follow her. A picture is worth a thousand words. When you click on Defining Yellow I’d ask you to read her ABOUT ME page and her PURPOSE Page.

When you are finished ask yourself if you know who Kourtney is, what she does, and why she does it. Kourtney wants to work with people like herself. That’s who she surrounds herself with. She’s very direct about who she is. So much so, that I wrote and asked her if I could share her blog with you guys.

Forget about your competition.

Don’t research them, don’t spy on them, don’t lie awake at night wondering and worrying about how they are doing exactly what your doing and worse yet that they are brighter and way more good looking than you are They are not going to steal all your customers!

Your business is different from anyone else’s . It’s your DNA. There will never, ever be anyone who is like you in the past, the present or future. The imprint you put on your business is one-of-a-kind!

You are not they and they are not you! Wanna know why?

Your competitions needs are way different than yours and I gotta tell you that many of the shipwrecks I see from new startups come from trying to do what they’re not prepared to do. It’s like going from your church softball team to the major leagues in fifteen minutes.

I know, I know, As one of my sons put it so eloquently: “Why are you stepping on my dreams?”

The people you choose to serve don’t want something from you they can buy ANYWHERE. They want what you and only you bring to the table. That’s the person you want to attract.

Your competition, the people who you worry about? They aren’t worried about you. They’re too busy being themselves. Follow their lead!

Start small and start now.

Once you’ve gotten the “have to’s” out of the way – legal requirements, insurance etc. it’s time to begin planning.

The first question you might ask yourself is “How do I know what I need?”

That’s where knowing and understanding who you your ideal client is – the one your business will serve and what their needs are.

Their needs. Not ours.

Let that sink in as well.

When I fist started my business I was working with a company that hired me to coach it’s management team. They had me on a monthly retainer which made it a really sweet gig. One morning the COO was telling me about a move he was going to make. I told him I didn’t agree with his decision. He told me he din’t really care if I agreed with him or not.

After the initial sting subsided and I worked through what he said I realized he was right. I was looking at things from my perspective, not his. He was doing what he felt was best for him and his team. It wasn’t my company and while my service was appreciated and valued, I wasn’t part of the team.

Let me put it this way. You have a water leak in your basement. You call a plumber and the plumber fixes the leak. You thank the plumber. You don’t want their opinion on how to remodel your house and when they give it to you it just does not resonate.

Start with what you know. Leanr along the way and when you are starting out lead with the best version of yourself and forget all the horse hockey you’ve been reading about.

Be you.

Start small, start now

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Doing These 3 Things Before You Get Started Can Help You Create A Successful Business

I’ve been working with new entrepreneurs for over twenty years.

I’ve watched them sore to heights that they never imagined. I’ve shared the heart ache as their dreams slipped away and left them disillusioned. – And broke.

I learned a lot.

The most valuable stuff I learned wasn’t from the rip roaring successes. It was from the crash and burn failures.

I’d like to share some thoughts that can help you decide whether if this is the right time for you to begin your entrepreneurial journey.

I have worked with and watched fledgling entrepreneurs implode because they didn’t do three important things that might have made the difference between success and failure.

What’s the investment you need to make in starting your business?

Many of us have periodic bouts of Shiny Object Syndrome.

Have you ever been shopping and saw something that caught your eye? It glowed and glittered and you didn’t know what the heck it was but you knew, in your heart of hearts, that you just had to have it. Never mind that you didn’t have a use for it right now; some guru told you that if you wanted a gold plated invitation to the cool kids lunch table you needed to have it. So you opened your wallet and purchased it.

You got it home, looked at it and all of a sudden it didn’t seem so glittery and glowing. As a matter of fact you didn’t know what you were going to use it for. So, you opened a closet and stacked it neatly beside all of those other things you just “had to have,” and went on your merry way until one morning you woke up and you noticed you had no electricity, gas, or water.

You hadn’t paid the bill and those services were shut off. You opened the closet where you kept those things you “just had to have,” and realized they would neither feed you or keep you warm! That’s when reality set in.

You crafted a yard sale sign, plopped it in the front yard and sold all the stuff you “had to have” just so you could survive.

Am I exaggerating? Not really.

First and foremost, take a deep breath, put on blinders and noise reducing ear buds and come to the realization that planning and launching your business is going to be 1% sexy and 99% hard work on your part. You’ll will not find a shortage of good intentioned people who will give you all sorts of good intentioned advice .

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Short answer – The chicken. Without the chicken there is no egg. Seriously. I am not pulling your leg. I see so many people decide, without any empirical evidence that they are the most special of the special and none of the tried and true methods of preparing to start up your business will work for them. You see, they’re different.

And often broke, very quickly.

It’s really easy to get sucked in by the all of the marketing strategies. It’s like they are speaking to your heart. They have been there. They have suffered. They have come close to breaking down.

Repeat after me: They are speaking to my wallet. My wallet cannot think or feel. I spend on what I need, which is not always what I want.

Some of us have to chant it daily.

First, figure out how much you have to spend.

Second, make a priority list. What things do you absolutely have to have in order to get going on making your dream a reality. Before you bake a cake you have to have all the right ingredients.

Getting things off the ground is going to involve more time than you think. Before you turn in your two weeks notice, or start handing out business cards take some time to look at the investment you are going to have to make to start your business.

Start Building Your Network – NOW

Every investment has a cost. Let that sink in.

Find a networking group, find out its requirements and become a faithful member. (Notice how faithful is in bold and underlined!)

It is going to take you at least six months of regular attendance in building up contacts before someone buys. Its focus is building relationships with other people and learning to trust them while they are learning to trust you.

Now I know you believe you are honest and wonderful and ready to serve and create for your clients, but if they just met you last week they don’t know that. Relationships take time. Getting to know someone takes time.

Is it an investment of time? Yes it is.

But…………………in my humble opinion nothing helps a new business any better than word of mouth advertising. Share you dream and your ideas with people may never be potential customers but have a network of people who may be. When you are ready to launch people already know who you are, what you stand for, and that you are, the real deal!

The secret sauce in networking is building relationships

There are three types of people that attend networking events:

People who are there because their boss told them to go.

People who use networking as a social tool, to connect with their friends.

Finally, YOU, the person who see’s networking for what it is: An opportunity to make connections and begin to develop an picture of who your ideal client may be.

You’re not going to know who your ideal client is until you actually meet them.

I’m not sure where we would be without John. Most likely, we’d still be stumbling over our own feet trying to determine how to launch our business idea. His guidance has helped open doors (and our own eyes) so that we are set up for success. When we were first introduced to him to discuss the possibility of working together, I remember seeing a light spark on his face as he immediately began formulating plans for how to help us…and that spark never faded during our entire working relationship. His enthusiasm, innovation, and sincere interest in our success has kept us motivated in our endeavor. I can’t recommend him high enough to anyone needing advice on how to get moving in the right business direction. And I also can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for us. April N.

That two year relationship came from someone approaching me after a networking event and asking if I’d be willing to meet with them to talk about a business idea they’d been working on. .

When you begin creating those connections you want to block out all of the noise and have a 1-2-1 conversation with them. It’s where trust is built. Arrange for a place, date and time.

Follow up with an email a few days before you’re supposed to meet as a reminder and send a text message the morning of our meeting.

This is a great way to begin creating connections, and getting confident in talking about your business. The more people I meet the more valuable I become. It means if someone is looking for a graphic artist I can usually say “I know someone….”

When you help someone else with no strings attached they will not forget you and if they do forget you, do you really want them in your circle?

I love this quote by Dr. Ivan Misner the founder of Business Networking International “Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.”

You are who you hang around with – Develop an entrepreneurs mindset.

When I left my 9 to 5 in 1999 I really didn’t know a whole lot about a whole lot. Back then, a blog was something you scraped off of your shoes. Mostly I knocked on doors – Lots of doors. I signed a client to do some supervisor training and coaching. I was sitting in their conference room one afternoon and their VP of sales stuck his head in the doorway.

Gotta minute

Sure

This is it, I thought. They’re going to get rid of me.

Walking down the hall, I started reviewing every dumb thing I’d ever done.

He looked across his desk and said You know absolutely nothing about sales, do you?

Guilty as charged

My background was in operations, training and human resource management. Sales? Uhm, no!!

His company was a client of mine for close to five years. We have lunch twice a year to this day and he taught me the most valuable lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur. – It’s never about you! It’s always about the client.

He taught me that in order to get you have to give and sometimes what you give, you don’t send an invoice for. You prove your value and your worth with your integrity and character. It’s helping someone out. Rinse and repeat.

I spend my time with those people. They exude positive energy.

You are, who you hang around with. Start that practice long before you sign your first contract.

Always Give More Than Promised

The title of this blog suggested you’d learn three things you should consider before you begin your entrepreneurial journey. Yet, here I am getting ready to give you a fourth.

A few years ago I wrote an eBook called These 3 Things: A Guide to Success and Happiness.

I am going to give you a copy free. It talks about three of the things I believe will help you live a happy and successful life. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that no matter how smart, talented or prepared you are you won’t succeed in the long run if your life is not happy and balanced.

This offer will be available for a limited time. Beginning Monday April 14, 2020 until Friday April 17, 2020 you'll be able receive it at no charge. Click on the link and follow the instructions.

Until next time. Stay safe.

3 Tips to Use in Avoiding the Guru Syndrome.

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I am not a guru hater. I genuinely respect the folks who have worked long and hard to build a business for themselves so they can enjoy the life they set out to enjoy and be recognized as the very best in their field.

My problem has never been with the guru’s. As a matter of fact, most folks we refer to as guru’s run like holy hell from the title. In it’s place, they talk about hard work, long hours, ups and downs and how there was more than once they were ready to throw in the towel. The “guru’s” I’ve met are caring people who willingly help other people and really don’t care for the title. They see themselves learning about every facet of life just like you and I.

They have an insatiable thirst to get it right right and always remind us that just because it worked for them………….

Yeah, we don’t wanna hear that, do we?

The problem, my dear grasshopper, is not them. It’s us.

We don’t read past the headlines. We turn a deaf ear to “No guarantees it will work for you just because it worked for me.”We are still looking to click our heels three times and be in the mystical and magical land where everyone hangs on our every word, writes us massive checks and lets us perform with the favorite artist of our choice. ( I always wanted to sing with Sinatra.)

And that’s okay.

It’s okay as long as we separate the reality of our lives from the reality of their lives.

Lemme share for a few if I may.

When I can’t sleep at night, I close my eyes, and I conjure up a fantasy I’ve had since I was 10 years old. I am a pitcher for a major league baseball team and not only am I amazingly successful, there are whispers that I am the G.O.A.T. – Greatest of all time. People love me, they adore me and when I face a batter I conjure up an image of facing a super star I never really liked. A No-Good-Nick, a villain.

I strike him out. Not only do I strike him out but I make him look terrible when he swings and falls in the dirt. Oh yeah, my average fast ball speed if about 110 mph. Everybody wants me.

I am heading towards 67. I never could get the ball to travel the distance to reach home plate and I am terminally uncoordinated. But I gotta tell ya, when I hear that siren song, the call from the mists that suggests it’s not to late, there is a tug inside of me I have to resist.

Maybe I could…………..

I am quite sure someone out there would try to convince me that I still could reach my goal and if I made a pittance of an investment, with them, I COULD get to the Hall of Fame. I mean just read the testimonials! Aging and deluded males everywhere are salivating at that one, last, chance at greatness. The one that escaped us so often in our youth. A chance at redemption. We see the faces of all those naysayers and people who sneered at us, and we open out hearts, minds and most importantly our wallets. Field of Dreams, The Rookie…….

Damn! I almost convinced myself.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.

It’s called marketing. It’s is not a dirty word or evil practice. It was not created by Satan himself. Marketing, my dear ones, is the way we make money, Dough-Re-Me. The stuff we pay our bills with and enjoy our lives with.

You know!!

I’m going to share some tips on navigating the mine field, because if you’re like me, you have fallen prey to dumping a bunch of cash in the hopes that it will lead to the promised land and instead you get a bunch of YouTube videos and a concierge who hosts a monthly get together that’s usually titled a master mind or group coaching. Often those aren’t live. You feel cheated and robbed and you are no closer to getting what you want then you were before your credit card provider is asking you if you’d like to increase your credit limit.

Then we’re ashamed. We’re supposed to know it all, supposed to avoid those traps, those get-there-overnight pitches. It’s a terrible feeling. We fell prey and worst of all it “Ain’t their fault.” It’s ours. We drank the Kool Aide.

End of sermon.

Here are three things that can help all of us begin to break that cycle of compulsion and make better use of the resource we have available to us.

Nothing in the realm of your business or practice requires an immediate decision. Well maybe if someone has a gun pointed at your head but otherwise you’re being what’s called “squeezed.” Those offers are designed to raise your pulse and blood pressure a bit and make you decide it is now or never. Some of them even have a doomsday counter. It’s a digital counter that tells you that there is only a precious bit of time left before this once-in-a-lifetime offer expires. After that you’ll pay a king or queens ransom. Take a step back, breathe and put some space between the hype and your needs.

I’ll use an old school term sleep on it. If it still sounds good in the morning……… That takes me to tip two

Listen to your intuition. I worked with someone years ago who told me, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it’s probably a duck. If it feels right for you, investigate further. If it just doesn’t resonate with you ask yourself WHY? Everything and I mean everything is not for all of us. That’s where you’ll hear the term ideal client. There are some folks who’d like you and I to believe that everyone created from the beginning of time is their ideal client. They can contort their process to fit your needs. It’s not a lie. They paint with a broad brush and suggest you and I fill in the blanks and often we are stuck with nothing more than we walked through the door with. Listen to your soul. The cool kids lunch table is not all it’s cracked up to be anyway.

Check them out – Make sure they can deliver what they are promising to deliver. I could sit here all day telling you horror stories both personal and ones I’ve heard over the years.

The internet provides us with great opportunities. We can work with people we otherwise wouldn’t have come in contact with. The internet has turned the corner market into a grocery store on steroids. – So many choices. And then, there is the down side.

Then there are the people that take our money and either woefully under deliver or we never hear from them again. They label themselves as experts and guru’s and leaders in their field, they send us a two page PDF, get our email address and proceed to barrage us with the good old once-in-a-lifetime offers. It’s marketing by attrition.

For every 1000 names we add to our list, 100 of those people will open and read our email. Of those 100 roughly 10 people will click through. That means, they’ll go to the next page or link. Of those 10 people only 1 person MAY take advantage of your offer. It sets up like this 1000-100-10-1. It’s the internet marketing version of the advertising we get in our snail mail. – Mass marketing.

Question for you: What do you do with most of the stuff that you retrieve from your mailbox? Yeah, me too.

Okay I’m going off on an uber tangent here but I thought you should know. Ya know?

Where was I?

If I see something that perks my interest I start asking around. I do research. If you are a provider worth your salt, Google has your entire life on file, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. As far as testimonial’s go, I try to avoid them. I ask every client I work with to provide me with a testimonial at the end of our time together. I put it in the coaching agreement.

Lemme ask you something? If you send you a testimonial and it says You stink do you really think I am going to publish it? Seriously. What we see are filtered.

Okay Mr Bright Eyes what should I do? Glad you asked.

I send an email with at least three questions about their offering. The one question I always include is a request for analytics. I want to know what percentage of their clients benefited from working with them or studying their material.

I’ll give you an example:

I still do resumes for people. Many years ago I began tracking how many of those resumes resulted in a person getting an initial interview. 91.6% of the resumes I created resulted in an initial interview. I offered empirical proof.

I ask the question: Who do you know that I know? Then I reach out to mutual connections asking what their experience was.

Okay you get my point.

You may have tips of your own and if you’d do I’d live to hear from you. We’re all in this together.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering my email list is way less than 1000 people. when I send out a posting, according to MailChimp the open rate is roughly 35%. The alleged average for my profession, coaching and consulting is 12.9%. My click through rate is at 10%. I keep my list manageable.

One last thing: I have not posted for a few weeks mostly because of a personal illness – our grandson gave us a new years gift of Day Care Disease and we had a death in our extended family. I thought you’d like to know

Namsate

Sometimes An Egg is Just an Egg

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Lemme share a story with you.

One morning my mom was cleaning out the refrigerator. She was moving stuff around to find the ingredients to make a cake. The recipe called for two eggs. She had two eggs left in the fridge – somewhere.

As she started to back out of the fridge she dropped the eggs

Splat and splatter. (A few expletives in Polish that I didn’t understand until much later in life.)

My mom set her jaw firmly and her eyes swelled a bit and she started looking around the room. She spotted my brother a few feet away with his back turned. She took a few steps forward and swatted my brother on the butt.

Why’d ya do that for mom?

That’s for making me drop the eggs.

What eggs?

Two more swats.

We get angry and frustrated because the universe isn’t cooperating the way it should on our schedule and in our clearly defined terms.

It can’t be that our expectations are vague or murky, can it?

It surely has nothing to do with them being unrealistic, at the moment, does it?

We checked all the boxes, did our due diligence and arrived at the logical conclusion.

It ain’t our fault!

But…………………

It has to be someones fault doesn’t it? Someone must be blamed because if we start looking at our own insights and behavior……….

Okay, let’s not go there.

I dropped some eggs a few days ago myself. The more I tried to clean them up, the more I dropped until I had a whole list of people who were responsible.

“What’s in your wallet?”

Do you have to be so damned perky all the time. That’s the problem with this world – Perky people with unrealistic expectations getting in my way. Imagine a snarl or two.

Splat and splatter.

Amazing things happen when you let them happen. Deep inside of each of us there is a voice. That voice is pure and it is always honest. We call it lottsa different things depending on our belief. Some folks call it a soul. Some call it a psyche, inner guidance, consciousness or perception. However we identify this phenomenon it appears when we allow it to appear. It’s the rudder of reason or the Oh yeah! I forgot about that.

Part of my daily routine is to set an intention for that day. I get comfortable, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and allow everything to clear out of my mind. It’s a purification of sorts. I wash a way any negative feelings I may have about something or someone. The less clutter in my life, the easier it is for me to see things the way they are.

Sorta like cleaning a dirty window to get a better view.

I’m not sure why it happened the way it happened but on that day the story of the broken eggs popped into my head. Right there in the middle of a a major OHMMMMMMMMM moment. WAS it the major Ohm moment?

My enlightenment came when I realized I was fighting mythical beasts in mythical battles – Things I could not control in my life or in this world. (I have a pretty high opinion of myself at times.) The longer and harder I fought with them, the more difficult things became until I was bewildered!

This was not how I planned my day. I immediately began to assigning blame. Of course, all of that blame was directed outwards. None of it was my fault. Messed up world!!

Where the hell did all those other beasts come from? I didn’t summon them!!

This much wisdom I can share:

In twenty years of working in my own business and as my own boss, I’ve learned that time is precious and needn’t be wasted on chasing after things we never had control over to begin with. Sometimes stuff happens. Mindfulness and our ability to roll with the flow is what toughens us and prepares for the battles we can control.

I’m learning to identify the things I can control and I’ll devote my time and energy there.

Sigmund Frieud told us that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes a broken egg is just a broken egg.

Chew on that a bit.

Namaste.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Where are You Sowing Your Seeds?

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“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. ~ Matthew 23: 3-7

Ever see a puppy enter a room?

It runs around licking everyone, rolling over to get its belly scratched. It’s tail wags and it’s so excited it pee’s on the floor. The more excited it gets, the more it wants to be noticed and pretty soon it’s running up to EVERYONE in the room looking for attention.

Everyone thinks the puppy is so damn cute. Everyone scratches behind it’s ears and ooo’s and ahhh’s.

Did ya ever notice though that at the end of the night no one takes the puppy home?

It’s cute but we’re not interested in having a dog right now!

I want something a bit bigger.

I wonder if there’s anything smaller.

Bye-bye puppy.

(Pssst. We’re the puppy!)

I am not sure if there were puppies running around two thousand years ago when Matthew wrote the parable of the seed, but it brings the point home.

Are we any different from the puppy in how we market ourselves and our services?

We start out with a super duper idea and we convince our selves that the entire galaxy, past, present and future not only wants it but NEEDS it.

A sort of throw it up there and see if any of it sticks. We’ll work out the details later on.

We build a book, a list, a Rolodex, shoot I don’t care whatcha call it! It’s names. The more names you have the better chance you have of creating a relationship.

Relationships can turn into sales.

Sales can turn into revenue.

Easy-peasey lemon squeezy. Right?

The farmer in the parable walked out the front door and started sowing his seed. Not a lot of thought, just following conventional wisdom. Throw your seed far and wide, go home, light a candle and wait for results.

The seed in our story is like our latest and greatest idea. A new product launch, a webinar, a coaching offer. Like the puppy, we are so excited we want to tell everyone because everyone needs what we are offering. Right?

A lot of that seed never germinated. It lays there, (Like so many unopened e-mails maybe?) until the birds came and snatched it up. (Everything in your deleted folder will be permanently emptied every thirty days.)

Do you know that most email providers believe a twenty five percent engagement rate, which means only one fourth of the people you reach out to, actually are curious enough to lake a little look-see? Hell, even major league baseball defines stardom at a thirty percent rate! ( I hit sixty percent once and threw a party!)

More of the seed reached the ground and was allowed to germinate but it either wasn’t fed and watered or other seeds choked it out. It hung around for a bit and then withered and died. We meet someone at a networking event or at a meeting and we add their business card to our ever growing list.

There’s a problem. Those folks MIGHT remember us. Those folks MIGHT open our emails and they MIGHT even read them. They MIGHT meet us for coffee. They MIGHT schedule a discovery session. Long term? Those folks aren’t in it for the long haul. We are not on their radar. Their first contact comes more from curiosity than from need.

Who the hell is John Jurkiewicz and why does he keep emailing me? Hmmm……. Ah, there it is, the unsubscribe link.

They are not bad people.

They just ain’t our people.

They are someones people but not ours. Capeesh?

Expecting business or any sort of relationship to develop from a few emails and a free gift offer is like betting the mortgage payment on a 99 to 1 shot at the track. There’s a chance! A slim chance but a chance. (We just keep telling ourselves that. It’s a mantra of sorts.)

Finally some of the seed manages to fall on good ground, germinates, and produces results. Those are the folks we cultivate relationships with. We get to know them. We find out what we have in common and most importantly can WE help THEM.

Sometimes I think we get it bass-akward. We get all caught up in what the pooh-roo’s are doing. (If you haven’t read many of my epistles a pooh-ru is exactly what it implies: Someone pumping out a whole bunch of pooh just to make money.) When they market themselves as being successful in their area of expertise we believe we have to do what they do.

Monkey see, monkey do.

But if you take the time to notice in Mathews parable, the seed that fell on good ground produced a bumper crop, over and over.

Here’s the dull and boring business part.

Why pay for a bag of seed that potentially 90% will go to waste? Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction on just enough seed to attract who we’re looking for as the person who is going to buy, love and ultimately cherish our service or product?

Doesn’t it make sense in cultivating relationships with folks who share our same vision of life, the universe and the world?

Aren’t those people more apt to share who you are, what you do and how you can help them with other people they know who embrace the same values that you embrace?

Over eighty percent of my coaching clients come from referrals. I’ve developed that success because I work really hard at establishing a relationship with every new person I meet.

They keep waiting for the sales pitch, the squeeze, the upsell. When it doesn’t come they are more apt to relax and engage with me.

I’m going to share a technique I use when I meet with someone for the first time and many of you have never met me, so you qualify! 🙂

I listen.

I write

I ask questions

Okay here it comes. If I were a bit more savvy when it comes to technology I’d do some music or thunder crashing or something like that.

While I’m doing all of the above I am scanning the amazing hard drive God presented me at birth, AKA, my brain. I am looking for a way to help the person with a situation they are having a problem with.

It may be a connection, a resource, or a solution to their situation. Something tangible, something real!

It’s not a tease. I don’t give them just enough to keep coming back for more (God, I hate when people do that to. Ya either care about me or ya don’t! Know what I mean Vern?)

There are no strings attached. I just don’t pump out a bunch of BS any moron with an internet connection and a phone could look up on their own. I give them hands on, valuable information based on my knowledge and experiences.

Then I wait. (Imagine a clock ticking or the final Jeopardy theme music playing in the back ground.)

I always get a response.

Sometimes it’s just a Thanks so much John and I never hear from them again. (See the seed failing to germinate. To use technical terms They aint my people.)

Sometimes it’s a I’d like to meet with you again, but right now my schedule is full. There is a lot of value in what you shared with me but right now I feel I’d be better served making my investment elsewhere.

It’s like Zig Ziglar once said: If you want to understand how people think all your have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken made a contribution. The pig made a commitment.

Moving on.

Finally, there are the people who come back and want to know more, want to test me a bit. Are you the real deal or did you do this to squeeze me into an up sell? We meet again and then I let them ask ME, Talk to me about your coaching packages.

Just like the T.V. shows that save the world with forty one minutes of content, this relationship doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes weeks or months to cultivate.

It’s the seed that often produces a bumper crop.

So let me ask you: Where are you sowing your seeds?

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Personal Development Is Not Playing “World of Warcraft.”

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It’s not “Pour water on it and watch it grow,” either.

If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Lemme repeat: If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Okay, so how do I know?

Good question

Number 1: There is no, one, formula that works for everyone. The exciting part about our personal development journey is the journey! It’s exploring and testing and crashing and burning and having exciting and hair raising stories to tell. It is not paying a kings ransom, watching a video that’s set to auto-play and listening to how someone else’s enlightenment led them to make millions of dollars. That’s Their Story.

Number 2: You can’t buy your personal development from someone else. You have to experience it for yourself. That’s why the first word is “personal.” It has to be carved on your soul and psyche and it has to …………. wait for it…………. mean something to you and only you not the talking head getting ready to sell you the magic beans.

What motivates us is the personal reward, the sacrifice, the knowing at the end of the journey you stand tall and can say with confidence that you accomplished something.

The experience you have in your life may motivate someone else to begin exploring the lint in their own navel and run around shouting Eureka! That’s cool and all, but the true purpose of self-development is for us to dive deep and create behaviors that full fill us.

It’s a really personal experience which is why its called personal development. (Duh!).

Number 3: Patience. No one likes to hear that word, most of all me. I am no different than anyone else scampering around the planet trying to make sense of just what the heck is going on.

I want it all and I want it now.

When it doesn’t happen as quickly as we believe it should happen we do one of two things. We give up believing the journey to a balanced successful life is for us or we start finding fault with anything and everything to justify the inner turmoil.

Sometimes, we even take out a second mortgage in search of a guru who’ll fix us. When all is said and done all we have is a second mortgage.

It takes time. It takes trial and error and most of all it takes commitment and I gotta tell you there are days I’m not to terribly anxious to be committed. I do it because I know one day before I close my eyes for the last time it will come into focus and I’ll see it clearly. Every now and then I take a deep breath and realize I am just a millimeter farther up the road than I was yesterday. It’s within my grasp!

That’s progress

Progress with patience.

Finally, one of my readers wrote and asked if I called myself a business coach why was I always talking about life foundations and getting our stuff together? Shouldn’t I be opining on financial strategies, marketing and the like? ( I do but frankly I fall asleep writing about it.)

Lemme tell you something.

I have been doing this work for twenty years. I have seen people take off with a flourish, stumble a bit, catch their balance and take off again. I’ve seen people give me the old I got this John. Thanks for your help. See ya later. There never was a later. Something short circuited them.

No eyes wide open and all that stuff.

It’s really sorta simple. If there is no structure, no commitment or no balance in our personal life, why should there be any in our career or business life? There isn’t two of us in one skin. The me in my business is the same me that walks upstairs from my office or returns home from a client. It’s not a separation no matter how hard we try to will it to be.

It is not about reading books, listening to talks or climbing mountains. It’s about packing a sandwich and a bottle of water in your back pack walking out the door and heading out on your own, unique journey. It’s the journey designed just for you at the moment of your creation. It’s about me reading me and you reading you and when we do that’s when the genuine Eureka explodes.

It’s what makes me different as a coach. I coach ALL of you, not just the part that has the latest and greatest business idea. What twenty years of working with people and my own journey has taught me is that when you have your personal stuff together or as together as it can be at the moment – your personal finances, your health, your relationships both personal and professional – chances are you’re creating more of an advantage to succeed.

I’ll leave you with this.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say ~JRR Tolkien

Namaste dear ones.

Come back next week, k?



Building Your Business One Relationship at a Time

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I met Kevin about a month after I decided corporate America and everything that went with it wasn’t my thing anymore. I’d started a business coaching and HR consulting company.

If you’ve followed any of my posts, here, or elsewhere, you know that banner outside my front door would read “I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground!”

A friend told me about his boss who he thought could use me. He’d started his business ten years earlier. In the interim he’d built a pretty successful practice with a couple locations and had his eyes set on a few more.

Kevin was one of those people who knew what to touch and when to touch it and if he didn’t touch it chances are it wouldn’t work anyway. During our first meeting he readily admitted that he had no people skills and spent a lot of time in conflict with his team members. They stayed because the wage was good and he offered performance bonuses that weren’t a mainstream practice in his industry at the time.

He mighta been a jerk but he was smart jerk.

We met for coffee one morning and he was“professionally polite.” He told me he didn’t really have a need for my services and gave me a“Thanks for stopping by and have a nice day! Why are you still here?”

Yeah.

He started calling me every now and then, though. He’d ask a question or suggest we have lunch and pick my brain. I never thought much of it because the calls were far and few between. When I’d give him a suggestion I might get an email that said “Thanks for your help. Your advice worked out well for me.”

That was about it. Until one day…………..

The phone rang. It wasn’t Kevin. It was one of his managers. She asked if was I available for lunch?

I coulda told her I was busy, I mean I ain’t a social service agency but Kevin and I had established a relationship by then and BTW, I could have told him “pay me or quit calling me.”

There is a reason I didn’t.

My intuition told me there was some value in establishing that relationship. It could lead to other opportunities. Kevin was and is a leader and well respected in his community and sans the lack of people skills our values, both personal and professional were in alignment.

Marketing Messiah Russell Brunson said in a recent podcast. “Five good friends beats a hundred thousand subscribers any day.” I saw him as potentially one of those “good friends.”

There has to be a relationship first though. I mean I can teach my fourteen year old grand daughter how to sell something but learning to value people is something that takes time.

Anyways………..

When I sat down he looked across the table and said “I guess I need to start paying you, huh?

That relationship lasted almost 9 years.

If I drew one of those things that resemble a family tree he would be the trunk and the twelve or so referrals he gave me over the years would be the branches on the tree. He invited me to speak at a state conference for his industry as well as conduct his management retreats. He introduced me to a whole bunch of folks and even had me interviewed by a trade publication he was on the editorial board of.

Trust is not something you pour water on, stand back and watch it sprout in fifteen minutes. It comes from a cultivating a relationship and that, my friend, takes some time.

I coulda turned away after my first meeting with him or stopped taking his phone calls.

A number of people told me he was taking advantage of me being a newbie.

That, would make me just like everyone else. I ain’t, like everyone else.

I do have people skills and I do understand what it is like to run a business and be a coach and try to figure out stuff all on my own and I know that before I write a check I am gonna make damn sure the person I am writing it to knows what they are talking about. In the beginning Kevin would call every six to eight weeks and ask if I had a minute to talk. It was a test and when I passed that test I was given another one so that by the time he had a real issue he knew the value of my services because he’d seen tangible results from the issues I helped him with in the past.

We don’t create trust on the golf course or at the tapas bar. It comes when people SEE our integrity in action not just hear us blather on about it.

The relationships? It’s why we do what we do anyways. Ain’t it?